I have published this blog every day, but I never know who’s reading it.

I am grateful for every reader, but each person who tells me that they read what I am writing is an amazement to me. I have had neighbours approach me, whom I’ve never met, who tell me that they’re reading my blog, who tell me that another neighbour sent it to them. The world-wide web is truly a wonderful thing.

Today I received by email the scanned copy of poems that seemed somehow familiar. They were sent to me by one of my English teachers, an assignment I had completed for an elective English course that I took while studying Medicine, a course I used to help me cling to something poetical when I felt that I was drowning in science.

The poems were written on large sheets of lined foolscap. Foolscap – I love that word. I love that paper – large, large sheets, used for handwritten exams. I remember how easily I filled up sheets of foolscap writing exams, my Muse sitting with me as I excelled in these courses. Why did I not have a muse to help me write the multiple choice exams my medical school teachers loved?

I read these poems, sent by a teacher who never wanted me to study medicine, sent by a teacher now wishing me well who has read my blog.

Reading his note, my mind moves in circles: through childhood memories and broken dreams, through calm, cool logic, through desperate, hellish, lonely depths. I have learned that the depths can be managed in the light of calm, cool logic.

But as I read the poems he sent me, poems I wrote as I contemplated a career in something very different from child psychiatry, I am pulled back to the joy of writing poetry from the depths.

I could barely read these poems, they affected me so much. I wonder if I can be brave enough to publish them.

I am so grateful to have had them returned – it is like having my youthful voice returned to me.


(Photo: This is the Arts building at McGill. I used to rush over from my clinical clerkship rotations for this English class.)

4 thoughts on “My COVID-19 Journal – Day 65

  1. Denise says:

    Marvelous! Bravo to this professor for keeping them and sharing them. Life comes back full circle for you. It was meant to be… now please share those poems. We want to continue to hear your voice!!!

  2. Wyn Schoch says:

    This really touched me, Gail, remembering perhaps similar pulls between the poetic and medical sides of myself at that time. So glad you got this gift from someone who obviously knew and loved a precious part of your younger self, and as a direct result of the gift of yourself you are giving in your daily blog.

  3. Judith says:

    How wonderful to have these memories and then suddenly they appear in real life. And even more special that your professor kept them all these long years and found you and send them to you. I am glad you went into medicine, you have helped so many people through your work.

  4. Val Hoareau says:

    A great way to rediscover your love for poetry Gail … hope you do decide to publish as I am curious to read your thoughts then … Yes, I have not seen nor heard the word ‘foolscap’ in a long time … thinking it must be of British origin 🙂

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