1. Young-Mason, Jeanine EdD, RN, CS, FAAN

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When Mark Nepo was 36, he was diagnosed with cancer, up till then he had never been ill. (He) was terrified, and nothing was helping (him) to conquer (his) fear. Then, one night, he was visited in a dream by the great Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty, Tu Fu.1 Mark's dream poem is recorded herewith. Here, we have a poet who lived in the years 712 to 770 reaching across centuries to relieve one of fear and dread.


As Mark learned, we are more than our fear.


Out of the yellow mist


he came, his Oriental beard


in tow. We were on a healthy shore


and he sat cross-legged in the sand,


scratching delicately with a branch,


his slender head down. I crouched


and put it to him, "How do I block


the fear?" He kept scratching the sand


as if he hadn't heard. I grew angry,


"How do I block the fear?!" He lifted


his head and shrugged,


branch waving above him,


"How does a tree


block the wind?"


With that, he






1. Nepo M. God, self, medicine. In: Young-Mason J, Davis FA, eds. The Patient's Voice: Experiences of Illness, Second Edition. Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis Company; 2016:134-135. [Context Link]