Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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The Flame of Life

There is something about lighting a match.
Such power and awe,
Something that might catch a stronghold — 
Make it fall.
Maybe it is holding destruction in your fingers
Or igniting something larger:
Creating a scar that lingers.
Maybe fire resembles human life,
Consuming oxygen in exchange for CO2.
It flickers and dances: 
Red, yellow and neon blue.
The fire could suffocate me– 
Night and day,
Or show me my path–
Light my way.
Yet, medicine is a match:
A trigger, a spark.
Something that can snatch away life 
Like a criminal at a park.
But it can also kindle life 
Once again.

Just as scholars are never done with Donne,
We are rediscovering the hypocrisy of Hippocrates.
How life requires death to begin.
How death overwhelms life: the inevitable end.
However, with the match of medicine we enliven,
Quicken those in need;
Turn captives into the freed,
With the hungry, we feed.
Medicine is sweet, 
As the sun creates sugar inside leaves.

As I hold this match,
Ready to strike,
Ready to catch,
I shake with its power,
Knowing that hour after hour
This gift of medicine
Can do evil and good.
So, with compassion and Truth, 
I will achieve all the healer could.

Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.

Kelly Wigglesworth Kelly Wigglesworth (4 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine

Kelly Wigglesworth is a third-year medical student at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine class of 2022. In 2016, Kelly received a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in classical humanities from Biola University in La Mirada, California. Throughout her life, she has been an adventure-seeker and lover of all living things. In the moments between clinics and research, Kelly gardens, runs, paints, writes poetry, and flees to the mountains to snowboard or hike. She loves God and is passionate about recognizing the spiritual and psychological elements of health: both in the medical field and through poetry. Upon graduation, Kelly plans to become a pediatrician.