The mind of the innocent – student poem

Sometimes a student submits something to me that is so different to what I usually get that I feel a need to share it. This is a contribution by one of our 4th year students, who has kindly agreed to have her work shared here.

The morning after loss is more than obvious
The sombre pierces echoes of the silence
Laid to rest: my buried innocence

Can’t digest the truth I’m told: no more tears as I sit down
The nightmare’s just beginning
The emotions in me die when sanity prevails
Daylight brings some hope but it doesn’t last at all
To heal the wounds time left for me

You can’t change what already happened
I guess that’s the burden I’ll have to live with
Nothing will ever compensate for what I’ve suffered
What’s left for you to offer?

Pain and suffering are blood brothers
Keeping each other away from the cure
Feeling perfect in the short run; dying further in the long term
Hiding from the truth I know, if I put on a facade they won’t know
How I really feel

A field of innocence contains broken flowers
I guess we’ll miss you
After 24 hours

Shameemah Hartley

“Eleven hundred hours” – Poem by a student

For the past few years I’ve been asking my final year students to develop a learning portfolio as part of the ethics module I teach. Even though I encourage them to use different forms of knowledge representation, few of them take up the offer. However, every now and again someone submits something very different to the 2 page narrative. The student has given me permission to share her work here.

Its 11. She normally comes at 11.
I hope she forgets today.
She doesn’t care how I feel.
I’m always so tired.
The medication makes me drowsy.
The lines across her face I cannot even discern, my eyesight is failing.
My legs are weak.
I cannot feel my big toe.
She uses a toothpick, I cannot feel it, yet I know it hurts.
I have HIV, I know that.
Some days I cry
She doesn’t know
I’m not sure if I can trust her
I tell her all I want to do is sleep
She talks about exercise
I haven’t exercised a day in my life
My life is about surviving
Surviving the streets of Hanover Park
Protecting my family
Selling myself to support my family
She doesn’t know…
Its 11. She always comes at 11…

Its 11! The hour I despise.
Ms X is next on my patient list.
I wish she would open up.
I talk and talk and nothing gets through to her.
She’s demotivated and I’ve used all my weapons in my arsenal to help her
But its null en void.
I wish I could help her, but she needs to let me in.
Her body language pushes me away,
Never looking directly at me,
But help her I must.
And try and try again I will.
She thinks I don’t understand.
She thinks I cannot see the pain and suffering.
A hard woman is she.
Burdened. Troubled. Scourged.
Her barriers I need to break down, if only she lets her guard down.
I hope in vain that tomorrow will be a better day.
It’s 11! The hour I despise.

The child is made of one hundred – a poem by Loris Malaguzzi

This is a poem I came across by the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach to education, Loris Malaguzzi.

The child is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred, always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling
of loving
a hundred joys for singing
and understanding
a hundred worlds to discover
a hundred worlds to invent
a hundred worlds to dream.
The child has a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine
the school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child to think
without hands

to do without head
to listen and not speak
to understand without joy
to love and marvel
only at Easter and Christmas.
They tell the child
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child that
work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there!

Giving students a voice in Physiotherapy Ethics

I’ve been going through some of the “Professional Ethics” assignments I received from our third year physiotherapy students, and wanted to share this one with you (with the students’ permission). It was written by Basil Buthelezi, and which I think really showcases the wonderful talents our students have, which we would never usually encounter because we focus so much energy on the clinical component of physiotherapy education.

The assignment was to explore the theme of Human rights in South African healthcare, using any media that the students wanted. So far, I’ve received a fictional newspaper front page (which I’m hoping to put up here as well), been directed to this blog, and now this poem by Basil. I wanted to share it because I think it illustrates the potential that students have to amaze us when we give them the opportunity to speak with their own voices. Here’s the poem by Basil Buthelezi…

Site of entertainment (voices personalising HIV / AIDS)

I’m all over,
From the person next to you,
In the neighbourhood and,
All four corners of the world.

They all bow for me,
From TB to Cancer,
From strokes to the paralysed,
Beautiful or ugly,
From infants to the elderly,
Rich or poor,
White or black, “colour with no discrimination”,
But all the negativities in me.

Fair enough,
I’m tired of tears and the angry faces of stranded orphans,
Hopeless,
Harmless,
Hungry,
Homeless,
Their tears have given birth to an ocean.
Yes, my throat is dry, but I can’t drink in this ocean because it’s dirty,
All infected, the attack of vampires is in full swing,
Kill them, kill them all!!
Seize the duplication.

Dollars and dollars,
I have explored their pockets and robbed their monies,
Monies buying antiretrovirals
To keep me low, yet
The dead sentence is coming.

Graves and graves,
If they were coloured red
This world will be red, red
Red for danger
Red bloody red.

The equation is shifting,
Outplaying the moments of pleasure,
Abstain to restore the equilibrium
“Be faithful” is a song of goodwill.

If not!
Pause, before you explore the site of entertainment,
Have you worn a jacket to protect you,
To protect you from hot and juicy stuff?
I know you want to be happy down there…,
But you need a license to enjoy,
Cause I’m like a vampire waiting to attack
And destroy the essence of your life.

Basil Buthelezi (2009)