Archives for posts with tag: nursing

In Nursing School
by Mary McCarthy

It was not the usual nurse’s cap
with its stiff starched wing points
reminiscent of the pristine white
elaborately folded
headdresses of nuns,
sign of a true vocation.
Our school’s cap, a required
part of the uniform,
was more like a pleated
cupcake liner
sitting upside down
on your head.
A dainty humiliation
male students didn’t
have to endure.

For me, it was almost as bad
as the pink scrubs
assigned for our time
in the obstetrical ward.
In vain I looked for any other color
and was told — “only pink”
the nurses chose it there.

In those scrubs I felt
like a stealth bomber
under my pastel disguise,
learning the best and worst,
the basics of this
most basic human act —
giving birth, being born,
in blood and sweat and agony,
in pain and exaltation,
in joy and grief and nothing fit
to greet with such
a weak anemic color.

At our class party
full of laughter and gag gifts
they gave me a new
cupcake cap
dyed pink —
their joke the perfect sum
of all I didn’t want to be.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: At class xmas party, with my gift hat. Note the cigarette — I still smoked then, even though I knew better!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was never one for girly frills, and would never have worn any shade of pink by choice. Never liked uniforms, required daily in my Catholic grade and high schools, and then again, after years of sartorial freedom, there was another uniform, and that damned hat!!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday and Three Elements Review. She is grateful for the wonderful online communities of writers and poets sharing their work and passion for writing, providing a rich world of inspiration, appreciation, and delight.

by O.P.W. Fredericks

Making a good bowl potato salad is not unlike writing a good poem. The selection of ingredients are important to both. When selecting the potato there are many varieties, russet, white, red, and yukon gold to name just a few, are like selecting the right words. Do I peel them or leave the skins on? Do I expose the meaning immediately, or conceal it in a thin layer that must be savored for all its flavor. Are they in big pieces or small, bumpy or smooth, old or new?

For the basic ingredients of potatoes and words they have to feel right, but they must be given the opportunity to sit a spell and be spelled right. How do I want to dress them, plain with mayo, salt and pepper, monorhyme, strophes and periods; or do I add the extras; celery and commas, onion and Ottava rima, hard boiled or Haiku – scrambled or Spondee? Do I use eggs and Enclosed Rhyme at all? A little mustard with your Meter might be nice, or sliced pickles of poetic diction, but do I want a sweet sestina or the dill of dactyls? Paprika you say, well why not some prose, if for nothing else, color is pleasing to the eye. Capers in couplets? Why not. Crumbled bacon is always nice as is a comedic ballad.

Finally there’s the presentation. Enjambment and enjoyment, how does it taste? Do you savor their flavor on the tongue as you chew, or do you swallow them greedily intent to get your fill? Are they deserving of study to appreciate the subtle complexities in the flavor of the words?

It’s up to you.

Visit the author’s blog at

ABOUT O.P.W. FREDERICKS (in the author’s own words): I was called the nursing profession in the fall of 1976. After thirty-two years of caring for the sick and injured at the bedside and in other capacities, I chose a new path, that of writer and poet. As I embark on this new journey I continue to walk the path of nurse, though in a lesser capacity during this time of transition. I cannot help but be influenced by the teachings from my professors, but more so by the people I have known as patients and fellow human beings.

Watercolor: “Feta potato salad with garlic, chives, and tomatoes” by Debra Morris, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find a recipe for Feta Potato Salad at