Monday, January 17, 2011

When I am in doubt: a poem by Glenn Colquhoun

Looking for some summer reading, I re-dipped into Glen Colquhoun’s Playing God. Glenn is a doctor by day and a poet by night. He writes as a Pakeha (New Zealand born of Anglo-descent), but with a close relationship to Maori culture. He has written a number of books of both poetry and of children’s stories.

Playing God won the Reader Choice award at the 2003 Montana Book award and went on to become the only poetry book in New Zealand to sell platinium. The poems offer a human and compassionate account of being a caring professional. I kept making links between the caring side of being a doctor, and the caring side of being a minister, between the craft of poetry and the craft of leadership, which was occupying me back in December.

Here’s one, on the appearance of confidence and the humanity of doubt, that continues to sit with me.

When I am in doubt
I talk to surgeons.
I know they will know what to do.

They seem so sure.

Once I talked to a surgeon.
He said that when he is in doubt
He talks to priests.
Priests will know what to do.

Priests seem so sure.

Once I talked to a priest.
He said that when he is in doubt
He talks to God.
God will know what to do.

God seems so sure.

Once I talked to God.
He said that when he is in doubt
He thinks of me.
He says I will know what to do.

I seems so sure.

By Glenn Colquhoun, in Playing God

Posted by steve at 09:39 AM

4 Comments

  1. We have this poem at Canty Uni, as you go up/down the stairs at the UC Bookshop. Stopped to have a read of it one day…it is most inspiring :-)

    Comment by Ryan — January 17, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  2. What an amazing place for a poem to be placed!

    Me, I’m still trying to work out whether it is a poem of faith, or of doubt. Or both :)

    Steve

    Comment by steve — January 17, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  3. In many ways, I would most likely opt for both – Faith and Doubt in an intermingled synergy :)

    Comment by Ryan — January 20, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  4. What a lovely work of poetry

    Comment by Jason — January 23, 2011 @ 5:34 am

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