The Greg Judkins Prize for Reflective Poetry encourages registrars to use poetry to reflect on their practice. The theme for the 2017 competition is ‘A poem I discovered hidden inside a patient’.
In 2017 there was two prizes awarded, one for a Haiku and one for a longer poem.
Long Poem Prize winner
The Medical Mambo, Katherine Webber
Her heart competes with her kidneys to fail first
but she’s musing over her rag doll cat Buttercream
She’ll only eat chicken liver, she laughs
Oh gosh she’s wheezy, that’s new
I scan her body looking for clues
Jugular venous waves, respiratory rate, ankle swelling?
She smiles at me with eyes crisp and quick
with lights that bounce along with her laughter
She’s off about bowls and a friend who’s visiting from Melbourne
and I’ve lost my train of thought…
Oh, her heart!
I plant the brown stethoscope to her chest like an alien umbilical tool
Noting the heart ‘murmur’
- a thousand incoming freight trains in every beat
but the rhythm is regular, familiar
With the rest of the world muted
hovering in the quiet, gentle landscape
And when did I put my hand on her shoulder?
I push away in my black wheelie chair
retreating to the still computer screen
Clicking through words and numbers as if there might be secrets there
Finally, I turn to her, cross legs, clasp hands, deep breath
‘I think we should try a water pill’
‘Very good doctor!’
She pockets the script, thanking me with eyes that dance
Haiku Prize winner
Haiku, by Nigel Yeoh
it was just a screen for you
to hide depression.