Warm Springs

People say polio humanized FDR.

What does that mean?

He lost the use of his legs,

Never to walk again.


What’s humanizing about that?

Just as likely to make you bitter.

And for many, perhaps most, it does.


In the Georgia countryside

There’s a place called Warm Springs

where FDR went to “take the cure.”

The springs had no impact on his polio

Or anyone else’s.


But the photos tell the story.

In the pool —

FDR in his one piece tank top swimsuit

with that beautiful

welcoming Roosevelt smile.

Surrounded by his fellow patients.

Children and adults

Ordinary Americans.


This son of privilege

From Hudson Valley gentry

Sharing the pain and humiliation

Of this crippling disease.


That’s humanizing.

That’s what takes talent

and a Harvard education

And produces a leader.


May, 2019

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