Tribute to Robert Hippen, MD

Winter 2009 - Volume 13 Number 1

Jeffery Brown



"How’s it goin’ señor?"


those words indelible


in my memory of the man


that I am now forced


to say goodbye to.


It is not fair that I shall


never again critique a new poem,


that I will not see him


in another Tuba Christmas


or across the battlefield


of a hardy RISK! game.


I want the chance again


to discuss work


or life in general,


R Crumb,


or jazz,


but I am denied.


His wit and insights


are gone from me forever —


and sadness fills the void.





















Editor’s Note

Robert Hippen, MD, was a long-time Northwest Permanente Radiologist at the Skyline Medical Center in Salem, OR. Dr Hippen passed away suddenly in early September. He is survived by his wife and son. Dr Hippen was a member of The Permanente Journal Review Board for many years and a frequent contributor to the Soul of the Healer—his contributions will be missed. A colleague of Dr Hippen wrote this tribute in his honor. Following are two poems Dr Hippen had submitted recently that had yet to be published.

Honorable Mention

By Robert Hippen, MD

On her good days she might

apply a little make-up, as if

she had someplace to go, and cared.

On those days

she would wear the

diamond studs and the morning

rose up like fire in her cheeks.

"Legs still strong," she would say,

and talk about her day,

which was like most days,

and each day she expected

I would arrive, and most often

I did, though it was over ten years

since her eyes first called me

to her fallen breasts, and sometimes

I doubted I would ever return.

Whether she had wanted children,

or had them and gave them up,

or why she didn’t marry,

I never knew,

and me a family man.

In those days there was

a chill to her rooms that even

her thin smile could not remedy,

so mostly she just sat there

and waited it out.

And all that time

she could not recall

why she had first asked

me to come; over ten years

gone by, and still the old girl

did not remember my name.



Old Man Waiting at a Bus Stop

By Robert Hippen, MD

The bent figure,

black hat tilted down,

rain dripping off the brim,

back to the wind.

You’ve been waiting

like this most of your life,

worried you would miss it,

worried it would come.

Now you pause and hold your breath.

The headlights a faint glimmer …

will you sing hallelujah,

dance in a puddle one last time?




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