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Poetry and Medicine
December 28, 2005

The Man in the Wound

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

JAMA. 2005;294(24):3064. doi:10.1001/jama.294.24.3064

Quiet the ward, quiet the dressing-cart now,
quiet the morphine drip, blessed easer of pain—
turning his head as I pass, he says, “Hi, Doc,”
asks if I’m working too hard—I look beat—overstrained.
His wound came at Nasirayah, and I was not there
to shield him from bullets and flame, being safe in the rear;
yet his thought is always of me, the nurse or the friend,
sometimes even the enemy soldier he glimpses or hears.
With arms laid waste, he finds no reason to hate;
his comrades now are all who grieved and withstood:
just as the wound proclaims the hell all have made,
the man in the wound is raised—shown peaceful, and good.

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