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Poetry and Medicine
October 2, 2013

DSM-5 and the Naming

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; and VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut
JAMA. 2013;310(13):1406. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8098

The thing itself
Has long been obscure
So wisdom says. Perhaps
It's the nature of thought
Or the inevitable consequence
Of language that in the naming
We lose the named.

And so it is in my field:
The pock-marked scrub
Of human suffering.
We call it mental illness
And the work begins,
Surveying, grading, walling off,
Trying to gerrymander the wild terrain
Into homogeneous plots.

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