The practice of medicine is very demanding emotionally, whatever specialty you are in. Writing, for me, is way of processing that emotion, and often also trying to distill a particular interaction with a particular individual while also saying something about the everyday human experience of illness, vulnerability and joy. It’s a way of thinking out loud and responding to my experience in a creative way.
I love trying to craft a piece of writing by choosing the right words and, in the case of poetry, shaping the poem on the page. I am also in awe of the human body and brain. Writing gives me a way to explore the mystery of the way we function mentally and physically at a lot of different levels. It keeps me learning. I like the way that poetry allows an opening of our senses and blurs the artificial divide between art and science.
Beached on the bed, squeezed by pain,
I felt them surge, then change their minds.
One heartbeat slowed, fell downhill.
Worried voices overhead.
Needles in my back, my arm,
robes of green draped my view.
Anointed, framed, my body theirs,
the scalpel cut a straight line.
They pulled each baby out fast,
as if they might drown each other.
Midnight stepped between their births,
the witching hour sliced in two.
Parakeets in Bradford
Dr Emma Storr has worked as a GP and Senior Lecturer in General Practice in both Dunedin (NZ) and in Leeds (UK), where she currently lives. She is now turning her attention to poetry and has recently completed an MPhil in Writing at the University of South Wales. Emma’s poem, “Differential”, was commended in the 2016 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.
Read Emma’s review of “The Poetry Pharmacy” on Corpus here.