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Poetry and Medicine
February 2, 2005

On Your Own Terms

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(5):530. doi:10.1001/jama.293.5.530

At least you meet new words—
adipose, ischemia, proctitis,
cystitis, fistula, tenesmus—
those Greek and Latinate poseurs,
purveyors of what passes for
intelligence and class. Who
would have thought that
you would be
intimate with that crowd,
intermingling with such foreigners
as ureter and sphincter,
rectum and urethra,
at this cocktail party of
the pompous and obsequious.
Me, I’d rather be
monosyllabic, dumb,
outside in the garden,
hobnobbing with the common folk,
gabbing with the simple words
like good, and health, and hope.