When you arrive each day for your work, you bring your special insights and energies to our department community. April is poetry month. I invite you to submit a poem, song lyric, or tweet that you like, or have written. Accompanying images encouraged. Include your name please (actual or made up). We’ll immediately post them on our the department homepage and tweet them on @UCLAPathology
Join the Pathology Poetry Tweet, and share the site with others.
Jonathan Braun, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Sometimes I feel like my head's up in the clouds
because I have so many thoughts, but I can't speak them out loud.
So many thoughts swirling in my mind
like cycles of one song playing infinitely in time.
I try to rhyme so that my thoughts can flow
like a river to the sea or as the wind blows
like a cool ocean breeze...
Urbanization is causing loss of communication
with our native roots, our origin,
from within the natural world where our humanity began...
Beauty and grace is all around;
just look at this place, the sky and the ground
the clouds and the rain and the wind and the snow,
the sun and the stars, and the moon's glow;
and down below lies the earth's crust
on which plants, trees, and all life flourish;
and even deep down in the pigmented sea
and all bodies of water live an abundance of beings.
Our world does not revolve around our own civilization,
our human being relies on the combination:
the balance between and within different worlds,
with perception and perspective, true beauty can unfurl.
You don't want to know, but you stay in control
while your soul gets old and the world gets so cold.
Life becomes a blur, and love becomes absurd
as actions are just words since you're high as a bird.
So, nothing gets done when you're flying towards the sun
as your spirit rises, you make compromises.
Then, reality wakes you up from your dreams and drags you back down to the earth and the ground; and you look all around and realize that you still haven't found something or someone to fill that void in your soul
that can make you feel whole and strong, not meek or in the wrong - that certain someone or something of which you seek
that won't make you weak, but will instead make you feel complete.
was two years old
weighed 3 grams, one third less that a nickel
had iridescent red and gold feathers on its throat
other feathers were green, brown and white
took 250 breaths per minute at rest
heart beat 1200 times a minute
wings beat 50-200 times per minute
ate 1.5 grams of food a day, half of its weight
flew several hundred miles without stopping
Because of you our blood is drawn painlessly
Because of you we know it is processed hastily
Because of you test results are reported endlessly
You are unmistakably the link between science and medicine
And because of you diagnosis and disease treatment is possible
Though you are faceless and invisible, reality is you exist
“Lab Week” is about you.
Your presence and acknowledgement of your contribution and dedication
The week will end Sunday but come Monday a new “Lab Week” starts over again
BURL, Panorama City
Deep thinkin, soda drinkin,
Shrimp a peeling,
Analyzing cells all thinkin
"Are we shrinkin?"
He offers us gummies,
Thinks that we're dummies,
But deep down inside,
He really can't hide,
How much he loves,
Plotting, diluting, interpreting…
All our data are in his mind,
Such a help is this guy!
And at the end of the day,
The golden boy will say…
April comes in drops of rain
A wash of sun through windowpane
The talk of trees, the winter stain
The people on the street
And April she's a quicker dance
With a forward gaze and a backward glance
And a weakened knee and a wide eyed chance
Of flowers at your feet
And April calls me loud and clear
From the middle of the coldest year
A frozen smile, a crystal tear
A melting in the sun
--- David Mallet, Greenin' Up CD
“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient…. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach, waiting for a gift from the sea”
---Anne Morrow Lindbergh
A is for Autopsy, which gives voice to the dead.
B is for Blood Bank, which brings life for a friend.
C is for Cell, the unit of life.
D is for Disease, the body in strife.
E is for Eo, an allergic flag.
F is for Flow, finding cells with a tag.
G is for Genes, with variations galore.
H is for Heme, bone marrows and more.
I is for Image, to share what we see.
J is for Junctional, which a nevus might be.
K is for Karyotype, hopefully normal.
L is for Lymphocyte, B, T or other.
M is for Micro, where bugs get detected.
N is for Neisseria, a cause for an organ infected.
O is for Ocular, a second lens for our eyes.
P is for Probe, to see things of extremely small size.
Q is for Quality, the goal each day and every week.
R is for Research, the horizon we seek.
S is for Slide, stained tissue on glass.
T is for Test, the full menu is vast.
U is for Ulcer, a surface destruction.
V is for Virus, which reprograms cell function.
W is for Workflow, our standard comport.
X is for X-ray, in Rad-Path reports.
Y is for Yearning, to stay on top of it all.
ZZZ is for Sleeping, disrupted by call.
Pearl and gleaming
A lanky shoot from your bivalved seed,
Your proud neck penetrating the gritty sand into the blue surf.
But so poorly concealed when Mott came,
You unhappy innocent, now squeezed and pasteurized,
An afterthought embracing tomato juice in the blue tin.
New Yorker, October 10, 1988
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
-Leonardo da Vinci
Photo: Puget Sound, WA
"Subterranean Homesick Alien"
The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting
The smell of the warm summer air
I live in a town
Where you can't smell a thing
You watch your feet
For cracks in the pavement
Making home movies
For the folks back home
Of these weird creatures
Who lock up their spirits
Drill holes in themselves
And live for their secrets
I wish that they'd swoop down in a country lane
Late at night when I'm driving
Take me on board their beautiful ship
Show me the world as I'd love to see it
I'd tell all my friends
But they'd never believe me
They'd think that I'd finally lost it completely
I'd show them the stars
And the meaning of life
They'd shut me away
But I'd be all right
Love for Pathology
Pathology is something that I started to do
Never thought that’s what I look forward to
With all the amazing beautiful stains
My tissue always looks greater than paint
My microscope near me all day long
I am so happy I could always sing a song
Each cell looks to me like a masterpiece
How could I not appreciate each piece?
Every cell looks back at me and says
Don’t you know that I can do all this by myself
Every tissue gives me my diagnosis
That is how I make my patient’s prognosis
Although all my tissue is fixed in formalin
Its complexity causes all kinds of awe and wonderin
With all the different colors and patterns I see
It’s nature’s handiwork that is evident to me
This is how I can help my patients get better
By reading my slides right no matter what’s the weather!
Bita Behjatnia, MD
Helen Mirren reads poetry on the Stephen Colbert Show
Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose (1633)
Francisco de Zurbar
to squeeze away
the light and leave
the clay, rued
means he has to
find a counter way
to paint, unless he
wants his oranges
too to stick, glued
into a lump
like candy. And
now his wife
In: The Best of It: New and Selected Poems
(Grove Press, 2010)
To a Friend
In the nightmare of the years,
And the torment of the hours,
May the summer rest on you
With a trace of former flowers,
As the evening breeze repairs
Raking of a year repass;
And the kiss that stays as true
Bring to you instinctive peace,
Something of the careless grace
That rests upon the summer grass
The Complete poems
I walked a mile in your shoes,
With blisters, blood pooling, mixing
In the empty space stuffed with old paper
To make it fit, uncomfortably.
All to prove a point I’ve since forgotten.
If the city was a body, graffiti would tell us where it hurts
Charles (Chaz) Bojorquez