This morning I read a beautiful poem by someone I know who suffers from cancer. I was overwhelmed by her courage, and the wonderful images she had conjured up. It inspired me to write the poem below. (Just in case any reader is concerned that I am the subject of the poem – I am not, thank goodness.)
I shall set beauty
Against this thing,
This gnawing thing,
Against this greedy, gnawing thing
That steals my body, steals my ease,
This greedy, gnawing, agonising thing
That steals my light,
I shall set beauty.
The beauty of an owl’s flight
In the dark night,
The beauty of a gull that glides
Above the endless tides,
The golden beauty, pure and bright,
Of an angel shining with gentle light,
These will defend me in my fight.
And yet the beast grows strong,
It feasts, a glutton,
It swallows all I savour,
It swells, burgeons,
As I grow frail
And slowly crumble.
What help is beauty as the end draws near?
Even the gold of angel’s wings cannot stop fear,
The gull soars free while I lie helpless here.
It is enough…