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About John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1982)

By Theresa Wyatt

If you grow up on a farm

in rural Massachusetts and your father

tells you to go out and pick

ripe strawberries

and you come back with pails full

of white ones – so many your parents

and country doctor finally deduce

colorblindness

I would suspect great compassion

from the mother and father

was sorely needed as the farm

was barely making it

I found him at Wikipedia:

Great American Quaker Abolitionist

Poet and Writer

Colorblindness, not at all useful on a farm,

made choosing just the right flower

and matching socks a chore

but useful for a nation’s history

stacked with buckets full of gangrene –

a country’s highest price –proving itself

worthy of making it see.

Contributor’s Note: THERESA WYATT is a retired educator and visual artist who has worked extensively in the art of narrative medicine, a growing genre that portrays the human encounter with illness through writing and art. Her most recent chapbook of poems is “Arrowheads Everywhere,” published by Derby by the Lake Project.