2016 Hippocrates Open First Prize:       Owen Lewis reads At Tribeca’s Edge

2016 Hippocrates Open First Prize winner Owen Lewis 

At Tribeca’s Edge

Owen Lewis

At Tribeca's Edge

This evening, I walk to the water where the Hudson opens

itself to the sea, and the sea with its rough cross-currents

is in the air and in the light—the light spectacular, clear

illuminates the buildings of Newark across the water-way

with gold. The shimmering gold at their backs, they gather

to watch the harbor—the skiffs, prow-high, skip like kids

on a great lawn, a run-away pair braid ribbons of bridal white.

What will I tell my colleagues, gathering in a nearby auditorium?


I am thinking of my students, this first evening of Autumn,

young doctors eager with learning, still saddened by the sick.

The best are afraid. They’ve heard their voices tired, darkened

and hoarse. A ferry glides by, its wake spilling the embankment,

so close it seems we must hitch a ride, step in—and the light

between the distant buildings prying free, the sails opening with light.

© Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Visiting Professor at Einstein Medical College. U.K. poetry honors include Ver Poets, London School of Jewish Studies, and the Kent Sussex (2016). His poetry has appeared in The Mississippi Review, The Adirondack Review, Four Way Review, The Connecticut River Review, The Cumberland Review and other publications. He is the author of three collections of poetry: March in San Miguel (2012), Sometimes Full of Daylight (2013), and Best Man (2015). He co-authored of Psychotherapies with Children: Adapting the Psychodynamic Process. At Columbia he teaches with the Narrative Medicine group.

About what inspired At Tribeca’s Edge, he said: "My students at Columbia, College of Physicians and Surgeons, were the inspiration for this poem. I sometimes teach a section of Foundations of Clinical Medicine, a course that extends over their first three semesters. Coming to the end of our time together, I felt overwhelmed considering all they had yet to learn, hoping they would hold onto their optimism and idealism, and humbled by what I had contributed. The poem is dedicated to them.”

onion © Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com