This poem is part of the Poems for doctors project. You can find out more about the project here.

We’re very pleased to start our second season of medics reading poems from Scottish Poetry Library’s anthology ‘Tools of the Trade: Poems for New Doctors’. We hope you enjoy the readings, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Season 2 : poem 1

Medical Demonstrator Linda Proven reads On Hearing for the First Time by Carole Bromley

On Hearing for the First Time

Carole Bromley

‘It sounds very very high’

and she sobs for the joy of it,
for the reds and blues of it,
the shock, the hullabaloo,

the kerfuffle, the Sturm und Drang,
the sudden ice cream in a shake,
the sherbet firework burst.

‘It’s just amazing’ she cries
her face in her hands.
‘I’m going to say the months of the year’

and she hears them, shaking,
‘January February March’
April overwhelms her.

lt’s like never having seen a bird,
or the sea or the stars
never tasting an orange,

like living all your life in a cave
and coming out into the light,
the sun on your face.

Afterwards she walks by the Tyne,
daren’t go alone for fear
the birdsong, the traffic, the ship’s hooter

will be too much. They are not.
It’s like falling in love.

Rights: by permission of the author

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To ask to join, or add to the discussion if you are already a member, please visit


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