Young Poet: Catriona Sutherland

I am 21 and a fourth year medical student studying at Glasgow University. I have often struggled with the line between connecting too much with patients, while maintaining a professional boundary, and I use poetry as a way to navigate this.


I wanted this new start. To appear to others as something
different. I think part of me, and this makes me feel a bit
sick to admit, was drawn to starting a job as a psych nurse,
as I knew I would be around people who were ‘clinically
confused’- they had an illness, a baseline, that I could
construct a certainty away from.

Lines of green-curving straight,
With white-speckled
Partners of soft spaced light.
That lift up up with the tail- ended breath of
The Mountain stream.
A stream that drops close,
Following the same time-eroded path
Eroded by days like this,
Of stone and
The parted wake behind,
Alter and roll,
But the landing is soft
And the trees never mock,
The gentle cadence of connected contours
Through slow-patterned time.


Do you help the alone?
Do you go on back down the pebbled path
Always mid-way
To watch the painted door.
The quiet that stays soft and far,
Of the undenied
The undenied gifts of harm
Of warmth so young
It sings
And melts the feathered cage soft-free.