Ode to the White Coat


There is a coat, I learned way back when

Its color is white, its length would depend

I donned it with a mixture of fear, joy and sorrow

It covered my body all night and into tomorrow

This coat gave me strength when I knew not a thing

And it weighed me down incredibly in times of mourning

The stains of life it protected me from

Its whiteness was all just an illusion for some

For clearly it was no longer blissfully pristine

After years, the coat has acted many a scene

Days of wonder, nights of heartache

Often center stage without a second take

New life to hold, a bundle of love

Gave passage to others, gentle as a dove

The mystique of the coat would induce a level of awe

A feeling of power, above any law

In others a more humble sentiment took

Revealing true compassion found in no book

And then for a few, and only a few

It became a reminder of times we never knew

A portal through which one could see a perfect view

Of when life was good, bad and terrible, too

A coat with a past, present and future it seems

Heralding young men and women into a dream

Symbolizing more than a moment in time

It bridges the years, in ways so sublime

Samuel N. Grief, MD, FCFP

Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine
Department of Family Medicine