Rory Plant UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland


I need you in your threes and fours!
Around this table gather!
This Lab is private, LOCK THE DOORS!
Come meet our dear cadaver.
Your clinical skills aren’t up to scratch,
(You’ve only started Med),
But I assure you that I’ve double checked,
This man is truly dead.
Nervous laughter is what I hear,
From my jokes and darkened wit,
But in your eyes I see that morbid fear.
Ignore. Let’s get on with it.
Remember we are scientists,
Pursuit of knowledge is our mission,
So before we begin our captains log,
Most wonderful, most wonderful!
Are we ready to begin?
Take the scapels in your hands,
And lets incise the skin!

Observe as I reflect these layers,
I hope you’re keeping track!
Gently peel it all away and...
Voilá! The structures of the back.
Are you ok boy?
Lost in thought? Thinking about life?
That reflection’s for a different course,
Now hand me down the knife.
With Traps our man could questions shrug,
With Lats,  a high wall climb,
Note the wonders of the rotator cuff,
Be quick! We don’t have time!
Lets turn our man back again,
Be gentle, not too rough,
Oh do stop sobbing my dear boy.
Be calm like me, stay tough!
We don’t have time to catch our breath,
To stop and pant our tongues,
Lets open the chest cavity,
To meet our friends the lungs.
The lungs look small, but take a breath,
(And please ignore the smell),
For its only when they’re filled with air
That these spongy sacks do swell.
‘Yes, see they’re discoloured black,
And that tells us of this bloke,
Coupled with his yellowed nails,
I believe this man did smoke.
I digress! We must not stop!
Look sharp, don’t miss a beat!
Our next stop along our quest,
The heart- Oh what a treat!
The heart is the source of love,
At least you have been told,
But such a claim, it is näive,
It is a muscle not of gold.
Note these chambers and their walls,
They pumped blood and they pumped life,
It beat faster when he was under stress,
Or spellbound by his wife!
Oh don’t look so upset my boy,
Dejected and forlorn,
You are disrupting the whole class,
Now stay or go and mourn!
Lets dive into the abdomen,
Explore the inner treasure,
If only we had sufficient time,
To examine at our leisure!
The liver is a solid blob,
Much larger than you’d think,
But we have this talented mass to thank,
For enjoying the odd drink.
But this man here, I would predict,
Was no stranger to the bars,
Look at the surface of his liver,
Its covered all in scars!
Lets trace along the digestive tract,
It’s long you must admit,
It assimilates all that food you eat,
And turns it into shit!
No need to look so disgusted boy,
You should be more forgiving,
I’m sure our man would agree with me-
Shit happens to the living!
Yes it is a dirty thought,
So what keeps the body clean?
I’ll give you all a cheeky clue,
It’s shaped quite like a bean!
The kidneys are a selfish pair,
They’re misers for the salt,
But all these cysts could’ve killed our man.
And brought him to a halt.
Alas we must finish now,
Our privilege must end,
We could not cover everything,
Next year we shall amend.
Why so ashen, my dear boy?
You’re really quite a state,
But you know you cannot drop this class.
Can you not accept your fate?
‘I’ve no problem with ‘my fate’,
And my interest has now doubled.
But there’s still alot I do not know,
And that is why I’m troubled.’
‘There is a cure for that, my boy
You only have to ask,
So don’t delay and quiz away,
I’m equal to the task!
I’m sorry sir, forgive me sir,
But I must admit to my great shame,
I know this person inside out,
But I don’t even know his name.


The students of the UCD School of Medicine deeply appreciate the generous donations made through the body donation program. These donations allow teaching and research in medical science and the training of the next generation of doctors, radiographers, nurses and physiotherapists.

The School is eternally indebted to the many individuals who chose to donate their bodies to clinical education and their families who support this generous gift. Each year, the UCD School of Medicine holds memorial services to honour and thank family and friends for their sacrifices.