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For Wilson Greatbatch's Mother

By Joanne Husney Sullivan



This man has no name,

Like wheat fields.

He would break himself in two for you,

Bread for a stranger.


If all you saw

Was the wind through wheat fields

You would know him.

If all you saw was the back of his head,


You would see the wind

Through winter wheat

On a dark night

Moving like an invisible hand through his hair.


Where were you

Before you had a heart,

Before you could say Ma.



I know more about this man

Than I have a right to.


The lower lip that falls away

As if it had nothing much to say says it:


It takes knowing nothing, absolutely nothing

As in the beginning… darkness…. Over the surface of the deep….

To make a thing,


To hear the tick of life

Under six feet of snow

Where nothing can grow

Except Possibility.



Dr. Wilson Greatbatch invented the pacemaker, which has saved many lives. He is the subject of a bronze sculpture (also a marble one) by the German artist Peter Hohberger. The bust is in the collection of the Museum of European Art in Clarence, New York.


Looking at the back of the head of the sculpture, I knew:

1. that this man has a profound humility and

2. genius takes humility at its core.


For an interesting article about Wilson Greatbatch, visit

The Making of the Pacemaker, by Consul B. John Zavrel


Copyright 2004 West-Art, Prometheus 92/2004


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Copyright 2004 West-Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science.

Nr. 92, Summer 2004