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Poetry and Medicine
October 8, 2008

Ghazal on Miracles

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2008;300(14):1628. doi:10.1001/jama.300.14.1628

Nothing less than a miracle will do. Nothing less
than dropping disbelief. Nothing more and nothing less.
An unfortunate woman, who failed to respond
to chemo. I had expected more, nothing less.
Is it wise to embrace the solace of morphine,
unsteadiness, itch, and confusion, nothing less?
In winter grass cracks with frost and ruins of corn
lie where stalks collapsed. Now spring will do, nothing less.
Take only yes for an answer and never say never,
even in winter, or later. For nothing is less.
Failing her chemo fires up the engine of success.
Isn't it miraculous? Could it be anything less?
Is compassion a miracle, or must she believe
in suffering now for the sake of doing nothing less?
Nothing happens that hasn't recurred. Nothing is given
without disguise, neither a miracle, nor anything less.