On Hospitals

Buildings that sometimes house the previously unknown joy
Felt by a man upon birth of his first child, a boy,
A new life to change his parents' world in so many ways
As dawn alters the darkness by the sun's earliest rays.
Places where hopes and dreams like a tide rise and fall
As families cluster together in waiting rooms down the hall
From surgery suites where doctors work their magic
With outcomes that might be wonderful or tragic.
Death stalks the halls, a lion waiting the herd to thin
While patients from all their test reports hope to win
Their escape for the present, years more of good health.
Hospitals remind us that health is more important than wealth.
Peculiar smells, strange sounds disconcert visitors quite a few.
Anguish, grief, fear, relief, quite a bubbling emotional stew
Await its patients, their loved ones, and visitors alike
Making hospitals dispensers of both happiness and strife.
Cramped rooms, TVs in the air,uniformed people scurrying like mice
Adjusting your pillow, dispensing pills, bringing a cup of ice,
Long days, boredom, true hospital food, interrupted sleep
Make most of us far away from any hospital hope to keep.
To those under 40, it's a place of inconvenience and duty
Over 40, a place to watch loved ones' fading health and beauty
A place of contradiction, birth vs death, joy or grief instead
Making hospitals for most of us places to avoid and dread.

Harry Edward Gilleland      08.19.01