Adapted from “Funeral Blues” by W. H. Auden
(As popularized by the Movie: Four Weddings and a Funeral)
Stop all the clocks, reverse the DNR,
Prevent the patient dying, keep them as they are,
Silence no alarms, set the code to blue,
Put away the coffin, transfer to ICU.
Let the doctors circle, shouting orders ‘round the bed,
Scribble on their charts the message He is Not Dead.
Put tubes straight through the white neck of the one they love,
Let everyone who touches wear a latex glove.
He is not dead, and yet his eyes are not alive,
He breathes, he feeds, he bleeds, but can no longer thrive.
At noon, at midnight, no change, no fight;
I thought that he could last forever: I am right.
CPR’s not wanted now: agreed by everyone,
Pack up the ventilator, for its work is done.
Pour out platitudes: “we did all we could”
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
(With respect to our patients, colleagues, and W. H. Auden)