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Ensconced in His Throne Upon the Sea


Sonnet I: A Traveler of the Sea

I strode down hallways, winding ‘round to meet
A sailor old and take to him his meal.
A gentle bounce in every step on beat,
This home to many always builds my zeal.

His room I entered — knocking first of course —
And said then, “Mister Harold, pleased to meet!”
He turned to greet me, smiling, voice so hoarse.
“Hello, hello, my child! What’s good to eat?”

I spoke with him as fast an hour elapsed.
I heard his “hist’ry,” all about the sea,
Before he sat to finish his repast.
I queried Nurse Noëlle of things to be.

“A textbook glioma consuming his brain,”
She sighed. “One that now will not rest, nor refrain.”

Sonnet II: Ashore with His Child and Wife

He raised his head so weak and smiled at me
As I approached the man I came to serve.
“It’s great to see you, young’un,” perked up he.
“A lovely day,” observed he, full of verve.

His lucid state — relief for those near him —
And speech intact did make me feel at ease;
This sailor old was dear, a priceless gem.
“You know, I miss the warmth, the light, the breeze.”

He asked about my dreams and future road.
He asked about my quest for doctor’s oath.
I answered lithely, spoke of seeds I sowed.
“My family guided me, allowed my growth.”

“I see your shore: a bright and wondrous life,”
He beamed. “Like my own child and loving wife.”

Sonnet III: Waning Vitality, Waxing Courage

Delir’um boasts a state that’s hard to stand:
Its veil concealing all the face and soul.
I greeted him and shook his clammy hand.
He glanced at me — the cancer taking toll.

I took my place with him at his bedside.
I saw it: clear disease process at work.
His vacant stare did chill me, deep inside.
A pang of sadness stabbed me as a dirk.

He rubbed his head with such a trem’lous hand.
The tumor grown and drugs galore did cloud
A mind once sharp, alive, profoundly grand.
They stripped his vigor, drained all his endowed.

“Don’t worry, Mister Harold, I’ll return.
Tomorrow, six o’clock, we’ll chat and churn.”

Sonnet IV: An Asylum for the Caring

Away was I when fast his breathing ceased,
Away at home when ere he did contend.
A burning candle marked a life released
More than a cerement ever could portend.

The vigil over, knew I he had passed.
A nurse so kind embraced my shoulders cold,
And there I stood, still caught within a blast.
She handed me a candle lit to hold.

We solemn few then entered hallowed space
And soon prepared his form to be retrieved,
Concealing well his vessel left, his face,
Beneath a sheet opaque — the sleight achieved.

That evening moon, that candle’s flame,
The peace I felt, an empty room now tame.

Ashten Duncan Ashten Duncan (3 Posts)

Managing Editor

OU-TU School of Community Medicine


Ashten Duncan is a second-year medical student at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Microbiology alongside a minor in Chemistry and in French. An aspiring family physician, Ashten is currently on a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship, which entails a 4-year term of service in an underserved community following residency training in primary care. He is planning to pursue a MPH degree between his 2nd year and 3rd year of medical school, with the intention of applying the public health knowledge to his future practice.