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Poetry and Medicine
September 8, 2004

Guilt: A Chapter in the History of Psychology

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2004;292(10):1150. doi:10.1001/jama.292.10.1150

There must be someone
or something else to blame,
if not a god,
then perhaps devils
possessing and driving us.
Maybe the stars, deceptive
in their beauty, incline us.
Maybe our mothers
or the Mother,
or the vasty dark and deep
under the mind
has done us in,
or synapses and their
sly chemical agents.
Maybe we are all
too lizard-like still,
or one link shy
of a kinder, gentler
genetic chain.
A billion wrongful deaths,
but the soiled blade
has no relevance at the scene.
We are about a different logic:
we read by daylight
our own scored bones,
but we didn't do it.
And god must be gone,
or he would fix us all,
send us to our rooms,
deny us pointy objects,
and explain clearly,
once and for all,
what we should have done