out of crisis, creativity

Visit the links below for the full text of the excerpts you’re viewing in the Mass General lobby display case:

Jeff Cooper, PhD’s poem “You Are Awesome”

Suzanne Koven, MD, on volunteering to serve COVID patients

Walter J. O’Donnell, MD, on Fred the Baker

Pooja Yerramilli, MD, on not feeling like a hero at all

Sylvia Perry, NP’s poem “Eyes Shining”


You Are Awesome
Jeff Cooper, PhD

In normal times,
which yes there were,
and may never be again,

You worked your magic,
caring for those who came
in need of your healing touch

Just for a few moments
known to them,
yet their life is in your hands

As it surely would,
the stealth killer came
unexpectedly (for most)

Spreading on the wind
from the air we breathe
into the moist flesh

The vulnerable
could not stop
the mass replication

Which ravaged the lungs
the heart
the vessels


They came to you
helpless to fight
against the relentless beast

And, you
also unprepared
also afraid
did not turn away.

Instead, stood firm
for those who needed you

You took care of them
even when 
you didn’t know how.

Redeploy they said.
There is no one else.
You put yourself in harm’s way.

The human form
in front of you
fighting for life

Against some RNA
without a soul
And you with so few weapons

You medicated
sometimes not sure how.

The rules changed
every day
every hour

You adapted.
You persevered.
Defeated your fear

Gave the best of care
not enough for some
but for others, survival

Where did it come from in you?
The passion to serve
those you don’t even know

Even you may not know
may not question
it is so deeply felt

We who watched
from a distance
in awe

of your competence
your energy
your courage

and for those you saved
and those you did not, 
forever grateful



Eyes Shining
Sylvia Perry, NP

Mother, Daughter, Father, Son, Friend, Caregiver, Patient, Fellow Human Being.

You clean, you wash, you stock shelves, you drive, you deliver, you paint, you build, you cook,

you care, you parent, you pray.

Behind the mask, behind the plastic shield, behind the veil of fear and uncertainty, your eyes


I see you. I hear you.

Our gazes lock and create a palpable moment of connection.

Though you ache in body and spirit, in this moment, now, I am holding you tight.

Humanity is alive and well in our community of patients and caregivers.

Buoyed by pearls of hope, resilience, resolve and recovery.

We are in this together.