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cancer has a long grasp – poem

March 8, 2014

I had my own run in with cancer recently – better so far, thanks. Cancer is a terrible foe without quarter or remorse. I read another blogger has a sister who is gravely stricken. I think she ( the blogger ) is strong and resilient – and that we are all stronger than we know. Still, losing someone that way is bitter. This poem came to me as I was driving home.

I held your hand
then we spoke of boys
and embarrassment
Thank God Mom and Dad never suspected
or We’d have never lasted till today.

And while we reminisce
the tubes stand silently attentive
and the monitors gently beep
reminding, affirm – we yet own this day.

Your hair, so beautiful
my jealousy, your glory
no longer stands between us
and as you doze I silently weep
treasured tears for just one moment
over what we will not speak

I ration my sorrow
mourning inch by inch
strong, that you might not know
the great dam of my grief shall burst
too soon


From → poetry

  1. Dear Bill,
    I have to say, reading this again, that it’s as though you wrote this poem for me.
    Cancer is hideous. It has claimed many, many of my loved ones.
    I can see by the reaction to your deeply feeling poem and post how cancer the cruel has touched so many lives, and that a heartfelt poem such as this brings people to a shared table.
    Take care, Bill, and may cancer never return to your home.

    • Resa – I am always amazed that so many we walk next to day by day have met this foe. It doesn’t make our sorrow any less, but in the sharing it saves us from the loneliness of a heavy burden.

      I am glad you liked it –

      • Dear Bill,
        I liked this poem very much.
        I’m having my after dinner fruit portion right now, and am feeling quite mellow!
        I think you’re right about sharing!
        Take care!

  2. Your poem resonates with me, Bill, particularly the last stanza! I have lost my dearest aunt to cancer and know a lot of people who have died from this disease. My father on the other hand is doing fine ten years after he was first diagnosed with cancer.

  3. *sigh*

    this is beautifully touching.

  4. Please take care of yourself…you have just entered my blog life and I would like you to stay around for a while. I would miss your nice comments and yes we must all try to make each other smile and be happy. Life is so very hard at times. If we enjoy good health I think it is one of God’s greatest gifts . I am so pleased you are chipper and I am sorry to hear of your friend’s sister’s diagnosis.

    • thanks – there are few words richer than “friend”.

      I try to convince my wife that I eat and drink well – only the finest scotch 🙂

  5. So poignant and heartfelt… such a pervasive disease… you really captured the myriad of emotions here. A thoughtful, well-written piece.

  6. so touched by the heartfelt words…it is true that one day we will all go still this disease causes so much suffering…and it’s also amazing how the patients are fighting the menace with grit….with best wishes…

  7. Those moments when we know all that we will be missing. All those minor irritations that fill our days… Still many forms of cancer are no longer a death sentence… Still those that are.. Glad to hear you cope Bill…

  8. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for my health in that cancer is a stranger to me. I know many who have had it and lost the battle…sweet write

  9. I was very moved by this Bill, cancer is a terrible scourge on our world, I have friends who have been afflicted, my heart goes out to you.

  10. Your lovely and well written poem has touched my heart. Cancer has touched or taken so many in my life, including my mom from advanced ovarian(she was 41, I was 7) and most recently my beautiful sister-in-law of liver cancer this past Autumn. I had the BRCA genetic testing done last year to learn that I am not a carrier, a good thing, as it can be passed on as prostate cancer to my son. We are not our own timekeepers; we never know what fate will bring—so we must live, love and do the best we can. Each day is a gift.

    • Dear Ginny – I am so sorry you have had cancer touch your life. You are right – we must value each day.

      thank you for sharing some of your story – bw

  11. Laurie Kolp permalink

    I am deeply touched by this. I just lost my mom to cancer 3 weeks ago. Enjoy each given day.

    • Dear Laurie – I am so sorry for your loss. No matter how old we are, it is a terrible thing to lose a parent. May your memories of her remain precious treasures.

      If you have posted on your Mom, I would be honored to read about her. – bw

  12. scotthastiepoet permalink

    Hello, this is a brave poem that rings so true – especially:

    “I ration my sorrow
    mourning inch by inch
    strong, that you might not know
    the great dam of my grief shall burst
    too soon”

    Thank you for a great write… With Best Wishes Scott

    • Thanks Scott – when we write honestly, it usually comes out as close to good as we are able.

  13. Bill, I lost my wife to cancer three years ago, and my brother six years ago. The feelings are hard to conceptualize, but you captured those aspects of it well.

  14. hypercryptical permalink

    Beautiful words and observations – and I am so glad you are better (so far).
    Cancer is a cruel disease and many years ago I watched my father slowly (and painfully) die of it. I think a big problem is our fear of it and sometimes we are afraid of consulting a doc – when we know we should. I think it is important to remember that many cancers are curable/go into remission if caught in time.
    Hugs & best wishes to you.
    Anna :o]

    • thanks Anna – I am sorry for your loss. I agree that fear can paralyze us. Part of my plan was to make decisions quickly once I had information, and to be aggressive in fighting it.

  15. So very hard when cancer strikes. We never know when the finger of cancer will reach out and touch us or someone in our family. Glad you are doing well right now. Each day is a blessing indeed.

  16. Beautiful words

  17. This takes me back to summer last year, watching over my dad as he faded away. It’s a terrible thing, to see someone you love leave, and have nothing in your power to stop it. It wasn’t cancer for him, but that’s not really the point.

    I wish you well, and am glad to hear you are doing OK right now.

    Yes, we are all stronger than we think, and yet it would be strange if we didn’t wish that we didn’t have to prove it.

    A very good piece of heartfelt writing.

    • Dear Freya – I am so sorry for your loss. I have found that no matter how old we are, when we lose a parent – we feel orphaned in our heart – Healing from such a blow is slow, but it comes. Joy eventually follows, but perhaps not so bright and clear – as we are changed too.

      • Thank you. You are so right – just because we are an adult when we lose a parent, doesn’t make it any easier to cope with that feeling of being orphaned. Yes, I am healing, but yes, I won’t ever be the same as I was before.

        • as crazy as this sounds – live well and laugh to honor his memory – and tears are healing too. best regards – bw

  18. Oh that is so sad, your poem is really moving. Best wishes for your sister.

  19. I was thinking the other day, of how I get so tired of hearing the way cancer touches so many-and touches us all one way or another… and I guess we are all changed by the way it seems to dominate the health of so many. It is so hard to comprehend. Thank you for writing and sharing. Powerful, touching and has me thinking about the many we here have lost to the C word.

  20. ugh. i am sorry…cancer has touched quite a few people around me…my father has had triple digit surgeries for skin cancer…my uncle throat, my cousin testicular…its a horrible thing…i wish one day we could find a cure for it…completely.

    • Did you know that cancer cells are immortal ? Most cells have a built in register that terminates the cell after a certain number of reproductions. Cancer cells avoid that. Maybe the tree of life, guarded by swords, in the garden of Eden is immortality.

      But then I watched many X-files episodes. Thanks for your commenting on my poems. It’s very kind of you..

  21. i’m so sorry to hear about your sister… cancer is a terrible sickness… a colleague of mine just lost her husband to cancer a few months ago… two other colleagues of mine had cancer and survived… completely healed now… praying for your sis

  22. Oh Bill this was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It touches very close to my heart. 2013 was the year of cancer in my family-my father’s, mine and my Aunts. She just passed and I can see her and my mother in this poem. It is not often that word touch me to tears, but this is purely grace.

  23. This is beautiful. Every day is a new chance to love. I’m glad you’re well Bill.

  24. So well said, Bill–very glad to hear all is well with you. Here’s to continued good health!

  25. This caused a lump in my throat. Beautiful heartfelt piece.

  26. This is very poignant. Your words surpass the obvious meanings of your poem. Beautiful!

  27. The chance to say goodbye,
    Those few bittersweet moments,
    Bought at such a price.
    These are memories that define eternity.
    Make them count.

  28. thanks – I appreciate your comment

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