Monday, June 12, 2006

C. Dale at the Poetry Foundation this week:

“We always find time to do the things we want to do.” Is there a more true statement? We always find the time. I carried that statement with me all throughout medical school, internship, residency, all the way into my current practice of medicine. There have been times when I have felt overwhelmed by the study or practice of medicine, but I rarely worried about poetry. I knew I would always find my way back to it, that I would always find the time to write, no matter how small or scattered that time was. I learned slowly what Don Justice already knew: I could not and cannot not write poems. Medicine taught me discipline as a writer, but what made me survive as a poet was Don’s simple statement. He somehow knew I belonged in Medicine. I think he knew also, while I sat in his office so many years ago, that I might have given up that dream and that responsibility in order to write poems, when really I didn’t need to give up either. In a strange way the man, and his statement, gave me permission to do what I needed to do, what I have continued to do.


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