Only rarely does a physician prove himself to be a gifted poet. Kenneth Dale Beernink, with a slender posthumous volume of verse, has unquestionably joined that select group. He died in his 30th year, not long after finishing his hospital training.
A poet must be involved in what he sees and feels, and in his verse he must share his emotions and insights. A sensitive young physician, serving as a house officer, has an unrivalled opportunity to puzzle over "the larger questions in life, questions often having to do with birth, death, suffering, and the meaningfulness of one man's relationship to another." And when the house officer has great poetic talent as well as insight and compassion, there will result a volume of unusual and intense appeal.
Beernink's poems recreate his hospital experiences. During his own [terminal] illness, his patients, he said, "reappeared to me and I lived again in