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Poetry and Medicine
December 25, 2002

The Wine of Generations

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;288(24):3083. doi:10.1001/jama.288.24.3083

As a family gathers with good words
and wine to celebrate glad tidings, I
witness once again how Life shifts
swift as a hummingbird's wings. Having
traced your dance since girlhood, Pia Mater,
I watch you curl down now inside yourself
graceful and self-contained as any chambered
nautilus protecting a world within: red seed,
persimmon, cinnamon fox that nestles in
your body's soil while you sleep dreaming
of bones that grow inside your skeleton. I
raise my glass in dim light remembering
Dr. Selzer's line that wine is rich in mud
and blood and only bone endures. I offer, then,
this prayer for generations: May whatever
bones take form from your bones walk in joy.
And when they take their rest a hundred years
from now, may it be with your bones, Pia
Mater, and with mine that we may nourish good
grapes for another family's celebration of
birth as we circle here in the chalice of Earth.