A Hospital Poem for Poetry Month

Dr. S. S. Goldwater, Director of The Mount Sinai Hospital from 1903-1928

Dr. S. S. Goldwater, Director of The Mount Sinai Hospital from 1903-1928

Every month is a celebration of something, and April is National Poetry Month.  In keeping with the season, the Mount Sinai Archives would like to offer up a poem.  This was written by S. S. Goldwater, MD (1873-1942).  He served as the Director (COO) of The Mount Sinai Hospital from 1903-1928 and also served as the New York City Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner of Hospitals.  He was known as one of the foremost consultants on hospital architecture in his era, and helped create the field of modern hospital administration. He loved to write poetry and often exchanged poems with his friends.  He wrote the poem below for the celebration of The Mount Sinai Hospital’s 90th anniversary in 1942, just a few months before he died. It was reprinted in a memorial booklet after his death:

In closing, let me address these lines to your distinguished President, to your faithful and energetic Director, and to those members of the Board and Staff with whom it was my privilege to be associated for a time in the development of this great institution:

Full many a year has passed since you and I

Began to think in unison, and talk

Of what a hospital is and what it should be.

Well, thoughts like ours do not die a-borning

But, seized by eager wills, emerge as deeds,

By which new shapes are formed, reshaped again,

Until the world about us is part Nature’s,

Part our own.

Although we’ve not achieved

The perfect institution of our dreams—

Of love, and art, and science all compact—

Rejoice we may, for we have lived to see

The hospital we cherish yield to change

From small to great, from careless to exact,

From home of sorry pestilence to proud

And comely scene of perfect cleanliness

Equipped with all that science knows to aid

Physician, nurse, and sick, to whom in honor

We pledge again our faithful, firm support.

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