At midnight the north sky is blues and greys, with a thin fissure of citrine just above the horizon. It’s light when you wake, regardless of the hour. At 2 or 4 or 6am, you breathe light into your body.
A rose, a briar rose. A wild rose and its thorned stem. What did Burns say? ‘you seize the flo’er, the bloom is shed’.
To be healed is not to be saved from mortality, but rather, released back into it: we are returned to the wild, into possibilities for ageing and change.
About this poem
This poem is included in the second and third editions of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016 & 2019).
The 3rd edition of Tools of the Trade is edited by Dr Lesley Morrison, GP; Dr John Gillies, GP and Chair, Royal College of GPs in Scotland (2010-2014); Revd Ali Newell, and Samuel Tongue. We are grateful for the generous support of the Royal College of General Practitioners (Scotland) and The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland. You can read more about the project in here; and read many of the poems online; and you can buy copies in our Shop, and help us give more books to new doctors.
A copy of the first edition was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and 2015, and with support from RCGPS and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, to all graduating doctors from 2016 onward. We are very grateful for the individual donations which funded the cost of this anthology, and to the Deans of the Scottish medical schools who made it possible to give the books to their graduating students.