Healing Words

By Otis Bass, Library

On May 13, 2010, Word Café 21, Poet Healers II (Gifts for the Journey), was hosted by COCC College Librarian David Bilyeu and visiting 2009-10 Scholar in Residence Carol Barrett. Word Café 21 invited participants to join forces of expressiveness and explore the healing power of poetry.

This is a video excerpt from the Word Café event at the Central Oregon Community College Barber Library on May 13. Former paramedic Steve O’Malley, now studying at COCC to be a nurse, shares with us his poem “Paradox” in response to an emergency call he had while working in Salem, Oregon.

This poem describes the real events juxtaposed with some abstract emotional connotations as described from an unknown outside observer witnessing the emergency call and response to a deceased young woman who died while in the midst of breast-feeding her infant child because of complications from Crohn’s disease.

If you listen closely, you can hear the poet paint the scene with words describing the experience of the father holding his baby contemplating the implications of his new reality while the emergency responders attempt to resuscitate his wife in the adjacent room.

Video clip of “Paradox” by Steve O’Malley at the Word Café May 13, 2010:


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