Poetry beckoned her to Vermont, but the state’s natural beauty kept Cristina DeSouza here.
DeSouza’s Green Mountain journey began in 2014, when she embarked upon master’s studies at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
“Poetry’s my love—this is the major thing that made me come here,” she confesses. “But I fell in love with Vermont once I got here.”
As a published poet in her native Portuguese, Dr. DeSouza’s primary form is lyric poetry, the personal expression of emotion frequently written in the first person. She also writes haiku, traditional Japanese poetry consisting of three rarely rhyming lines in a pattern of five, seven and five syllables. One work reads:
I am satellite
of sunflowers in the wind:
summer’s breath of gold.
“I would not be able to be a physician if I did not write, and I would not be able to write if I was not a physician,” she said. She frequently infuses her poetry with medical terms.
In addition to meeting patients, families and colleagues, Dr. DeSouza looks forward to writing, playing and composing bossa nova pieces on her saxophone or guitar (she also plays piano), creating an English-language poetry chapbook and feeling more settled in her new home near Williston.
“Right now, I’m living in a sea of boxes,” she said with a laugh.
Her love of language and music underscores the relevance of sound in life itself and in patient-provider communications.
“When you think about music and poetry, sound is very important. The ability to listen to a patient, to what they have to say—the ability to listen beyond the words—is very important,” she observed. “Patient history is the most important thing. You have to be open to listening.”
PHILOSOPHY OF CARE:
I am an internist who thinks listening is the most important thing in the rapport with my patients. I aim towards quality and not quantity. I want to be my patient's physician and also health advocate. I enjoy internal medicine because it requires you to think about the patient as a whole instead of compartmentalizing each organ and system and for that you really need to listen to what your patient is telling you, verbally and non-verbally.