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Pectoriloquy |

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Will H. Blackwell, Jr, PhD
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Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “My fascination with science history is now coupled with an interest in art history. This poem was a way to conflate such interests.” Will H. Blackwell Jr, is Professor Emeritus (Botany), Miami University (Ohio), and presently Adjunct Professor (Biological Sciences), The University of Alabama.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(6):1831. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2537
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Some said the lightning came as Raphael died;
pursuing waves of thunder were his knell.
And before the storm could at last subside,
some believed that painting died as well.
Never since have colors seemed so bright
upon the canvases of heavenly themes.
From darkness, his was the purest light,
transforming pagan thoughts to godly dreams.
His carnal ways belied celestial desire,
and placed a demon germ within his veins.
Heroic doctors bled him by candles’ fire,
and with this blood, a final scene was stained.
His was the renaissance of art and grace.
In a century, Medicine would find its place.


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