Reflections of a Pruned Medical Student

A passerby may wonder

Why wistful I may be,

Why envy haunts my vision

When I view the willow tree.


A passerby may marvel

And admire my molded form.

My every branch and twig and leaf

Has learned how to conform.


My sculptured shape is chiseled

By shears too sharp to see,

For pruning is the price I paid

For this topiary me.


Meandering through scented shops,

Lounging by a pool,

Watching goofy sitcoms,

And trying to look cool,


Crosswords and sudokus,

Magazines and jokes,

These were clipped and hauled away

By the garden training folks.


I don’t begrudge the clipping.

It was my choice, to be sure.

But when the wind blows through the willow,

I feel its freedom’s lure.


-Allison Hill

From ‘The Inner World of Medical Students: Listening to Their Voices in Poetry’ By Johanna Shapiro


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