Pulse newmasthead 10th anniv 2252x376px

About More Voices

Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.



new subscription

Join the 11,000+ who receive Pulse weekly

energize subscription 
Energize your subscription
with a contribution and
Pulse vibrant

Wynne Morrison ~

The door opens, we pause again.
Voices singing in the lobby drown out
her parents and the specialists alike.
I think they added bells this year,
the cheerful carols carefully chosen
to celebrate the season, not a faith.
A guitar picks up a riff, the same
one my daughter played so long ago
in her one embarrassed solo
on the school stage. A song both
fitting and ironic, about keeping up
the fight. Down the hall, their daughter
listens to the voices rise and fall.
The doors open, and the doors close.

About the poet:

Wynne Morrison is a physician practicing pediatric critical care and palliative care at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She also teaches in the professionalism and ethics curriculum at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. "Writing poetry helps to keep me sane."

About the poem:

"Reminders of everyday life, including celebrations and the happiness of others, are frequent in the hospital. For a particular patient or family, however, this may come at a time when they are grieving or overwhelmed. This poem grew out of a meditation on such occasions: We would not want to lose the reminders of happiness, but to me it did feel like a door opening and closing, with the sounds of the outside world making themselves known."

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Stacy Nigliazzo


# Martin Kohn 2019-12-23 12:58
Beautiful poem Wynne! ...and thoughtful commentary. Hope our paths cross soon. mk
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Laura Palmer 2019-12-23 07:57
An exquisite poem from a wonderful poet/physician that captures the vivid contrasts and tension inherent in hospitals which are so heightened this time of year.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Daniel Becker 2019-12-22 10:33
always good to hear from Wynne, who always understates so carefully, so beautifully.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Kee MacFarlanr 2019-12-20 19:35
I loved this little piece. I’ve been in many hospitals. You want real life to come in - clowns, singers, comfort dogs and the like. But you also wonder how life can be carrying on when such drama and sadness and pain is happening in your world. Doors open & they close; sometimes it’s a bit of light, sometimes it’s just a painful reminder...
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote