Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT April 19th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

Our text for this session was a revisitation of the poem “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller, posted below.

Our prompt for this session was two part. The first was to begin your writing with: “Doctor, if only you could see…” The second was to continue with “Doctor, if only I could see…”

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday April 26th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Lisel Mueller, "Monet Refuses the Operation" 
from Second Language. 
Copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller.

9 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT April 19th 2021

  1. Patricia D.

    Doctor, if only you could see inside my mind it would not be composed of neurons firing or tangled wires. Rather, is is luminous, free of constraints or bits and pieces of matter. By seeing what I see you may be transformed.
    Doctor, if only I could see what is in your heart I would find it filled with waves of blue compassion. It is as luminous as my mind.
    By seeing what you see I may be transformed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • al3793

      Patricia your speakers co-construct an affiliation that is to be envied. The enlightenment, the transformation joined by blue compassion. I have been pondering that color blue for our trump card in medicine – compassion. Andre


      • Patricia D.

        Thank you Andre for consistently being present on Monday at 6, adding to our group and offering thoughtful comments. I almost feel like I know you 😉 Patricia


    • al3793

      Patricia, I notice the same. Rita Charon calls this “thickening” that occurs in these Narrative Medicine groups. I appreciate your presence, your beautiful writing and the articulate comments you share. I look forward to each Monday evening. Andre


  2. Doctor, if only you could see my spirit, my yearning to explore living without rules and confinement. I would rather live 1 month of total freedom than be subjected to tests, blood draws, MRIs which only add to the vagueness of my life. I do not want to live in the shadow of life, but to frolic in its brightness. That would be a gift that is so immeasurable that my heart leaps at the thought.

    Doctor, if only I could see the dedication you place in the profession of healing. The time sacrificed by you to heal the ill and comfort the spirit. Often your existence is impinged upon by the sacrifices you make to serve your patients. You have my gratitude, you have my praise. May you realize how valued you are by your patients, for their very lives depend upon your skills as a physician.

    Liked by 1 person

    • al3793

      Michele, your speaker enlightens the Doctor explaining the confinement that medical care brings rather than encouraging frolicking in the brightness of life (rather that living in its shadow. Then the speaker embraces the other side of the equation recognizing sacrifice that leads to healing and the Doctor is valued. A beautiful way to say so much. Andre

      Liked by 1 person

  3. al3793

    Doctor if only you could see the inner workings of my heart. It’s funny because your job is to listen to my heart. Have you tried listening to the silence? I think you call those moments systole and diastole. If you listen to the silence perhaps you can start to hear what my hear has to say and you’d see things differently.

    Doctor if only I could see…where you are going with all of this. But is seems that what you mostly see are those small check boxes on that screen, and a list of what you call screenings that I don’t want to do. I yearn for love, to be loved, but my life is such an array of blurred edges. I think there is some light behind the shroud that hides my life even from me. If I could only see it. Is it wrong for me to hope that my Doctor loves me for who I am?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia D.

      To wish for love, including from your doctor, is at the heart of being human. I relish the notion of listening to silence. I do this while meditating and it sheds light on what is not seen with our eyes or heard with our ears. Patricia


  4. michele348

    You describe so beautifully the basics of living life in a manner that brings satisfaction and completeness for the individual. So much of medicine these days is “checking off boxes” and being poked and prodded. Doctor, stop and really look at the individual that sits before you. There is so much more to be learned.

    Liked by 1 person

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