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A word you never want to hear,
A destroyer of dreams; synonymous with fear,
An incalculable tyrant, it preys on the good,
On this beautiful planet it has no place.
A loved one; a parent, is feeling ill,
You ache with pain, you need to believe,
So you trust in science and surrender your fears
To dedicated professionals who can halt the tears.
The treatment begins, there seems so much,
Countless pills, endless visits, always so sleepy,
You help, worry, you encourage, you support,
But this is a fight-a-war to be fought.
Days melt into weeks, perhaps a touch longer,
Then hope appears; mum is getting stronger,
The tumour is breaking, falling apart,
I have 24 hour sunshine—we have a new start.
The medicine complete, the diagnosis clear,
My mum is free, unchained from the fear,
We meet for a walk, we chatter, laugh,
A rabbit runs by, it pauses, smiles . . . it knows.
I have seen cancer beaten, I have seen it retreat,
Like a bear catching salmon, I am feeling replete,
For each threat it brings, there is always a way
To face its tyranny and live another day.


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“I wrote this poem about my experience with cancer. My mother was diagnosed with cancer about 3 years ago. Thankfully, she is in remission and doing fine.”

John Kilshaw