Welcome to the second installment of A Gathering of Poetry.
Today, I am going to introduce you all to a poet I discovered late last month on the Poetry For All podcast. I had never heard of Rafael Campo but I was so enamored of the poem, Primary Care, that I checked out two of his books of poetry (and he is a prolific poet) and have been reading one or two every morning.
I tried to find online links to Rafael’s poetry and The Poetry Foundation just has two of his poems listed. My list of favorites are long in just the few weeks I have begun reading his poetry. He writes such beautiful poetry that moves me deeply.
I was going to share Primary Care, but you can listen to Dr. Campo read it here. I just love this poem… so much but I might love the poem I am sharing today the tiniest bit more and I hope you like it as well.
by Rafael Campo
I enter unexpectedly, and see
your hair cascading white-and-gray in loose,
long tresses down the full length of your back.
The nurse is bathing you in a honeyed light,
when sunrise in the hospital makes all
seem gorgeous, even the gleaming bedpan,
even the scuffed but bright linoleum,
even the faces peering into death.
Your heart is failing, yet you have the strength
to turn, your breasts still the world’s nourishment,
your eyes, though I have diagnosed in them
thick cataracts, alight again with youth’s
demure, coquettish indignation. “Please,
excuse me Doctor, I am indisposed!”
For just a moment, as you pull the sheet
to safeguard your imperiled modesty—
your operatic thighs, your blatant hips,
your ruined neck with its distended veins—
I think you are like Goya’s ageless nude,
eternal beckoning of human form,
inviolable, innocent, a gift
that both of us acknowledge, knowing that
such love is too sweet ever to be shared.
Nude from Alternative Medicine by Rafael Campo. Duke University Press copyright 2014.
Bonny has a link up for our Gathering of Poetry… we ( Bonny, Kym, and myself) encourage you to join us in sharing a poem that you love! We will be gathering our poetry on the third Thursday of every month!
And with that, I am off to Erie! BUT!! I will absolutely have an Unraveled post next Wednesday – see you all then!
Oh, Kat, this is such a lovely poem and I thank you for sharing. I am going to the hospital this afternoon to see a friend that has had a heart attack, and while she doesn’t exactly have “operatic thighs”, this poem will help me see her in a new light and I think I might share it with her if she seems in the mood for poetry.
What a gorgeous poem — and what a great reminder to continue to look for the beauty in our bodies as they age!
Oh, yes! That’s a wonderfult poem, Kat. Thanks for sharing! XO
beautiful poem! I have not heard of him before this poem.
Beautiful imagery in that poem, Kat. Thank you.
What a beautiful poem. I am going to look for that books by the poet. We were flying home on Thursday but next month I am definitely joining the poetry gathering.