Image by Art Lasovsky

Breast Cancer Poems

Writing is a great form of therapy and healing. Enjoy the original compositions from our Survivingbreastcancer.org Community! Be Inspired. 

Chemo Cocktails

By Reyne M. Husky

                

Getting my cocktails, one moment please

From my favorite nurse putting me at ease

She connects my port on the count of three

Making sure that I’m pain free.

I play my ukulele just to pass the time

And sing my favorite songs to help me unwind

I can go to places, right here in my chair

 Imaginary friends popping up everywhere.

 

I’m feeling kind of beat, from the chemo meds

My hands and feet are turning red

Can’t wait, to get home to my bed

To sleep off the things, dancing in my head.

Out Damn Spot

By William Laferriere

 

Out damn spot 

             exclaimed the iniquitous Lady M

In William’s foremost tale

                     her fears well accounted for

And the psychological toll

                             knavishly awaiting all

Out damn spot 


 

Out damn spot

                  fill those diagnosed dreams

A metastasizing growth

                            proves every bit as daunting 

As the Lady M’s infamous lament

                                    so we too think, walk and talk about 

Out damn spot


 

Out damn spot

                       when the Lady somehow manages

To fall into a fitful sleep

                                 she’s plagued by the nightmare

 Of blood and death on her hands

                                         her dreams too are made of iron and steel

Out damn spot


 

Out damn spot

                         she rubs her hands

And tries to erase

                                    “here’s yet a spot” she laments

“The small of blood still”

                                            she cries out in desperation 

Out damn spot


 

Out damn spot

                           the grief, the guilt

Sleep no more becomes the haunt

                                        and what is to become

Of the life we so anticipated

                                               the anatomy of grief prevails

Out damnable spot

Peeling Equals Healing 

By Pooja Jain

Hey You...Who me?

I am an onion.

I keep peeling each layer of my life‘s experiences.

I keep learning.

Little me, loved to be in the bubble of my family, my friends, my school and my home town.

I got stronger at heart.

Time came to give my heart away and with that leave my bubble too.

This young lady was ready to step in a new home, new country with confidence.

For years, I worked hard to make ends meet and I made home a heaven on earth.

Then I was ready to welcome a new life in the world.

What a bundle of joy my boy is ...

My baby boy made me a proud mom.

Life was going good.

Helping others and being a conscious world citizen. 

Who knew ?

The peeling would now be done with a sharper knife.

My body and soul were cut into pieces.

A cancer diagnosis followed by a  pandemic.

Double  the trouble .... 

Double the learning ....

One more year has gone by... 365 days of peeling and learning.

The pain equals gain ...

The more layers I peel 

The more I learn.

The more I get closer to nothing 

I ask ... is that nothing... everything? 

The Last Poet Standing

By Ilene Kaminsky

For Melissa Blank and Ben North 

 

Lasting longer than the rest

The final poet stood up 

Amidst thousands of books

Burned down around her feet

Now ashes to ashes, now complete.

Dust to dust sunrise to dusk

She asked the gods to slip 

Into her mind what she couldn’t find

Descriptions, colors, thoughts

Flowers she’s never seen, people she

May never meet. 

And instead of bursting into flame 

The room cried a storm of tears 

And their ashes washed away down to the street

Where they sunk into the earth

Melting the soil leaving only 

The voices behind with her to hold.

 

Yet only the words “death” 

And “afraid”

And “cancer”

Came instead.

She cried out loud 

“You don’t even know me, yet you defend me.” Pleading,”please. Give me back my words, please.”

Their brilliant brains battered them. 

Now in their silence and rest,

The fates leaving her alone to give some reason. 

Resonance of what happens now,

What do we do today 

Now they’ve gone away.

A child asks these stupid things

Adults respond without a clue

Nothing to say, less they can do.

Yet,

She persisted and insisted on their behalf. 

It’s no good, to herself again

Another crumpled page atop

The mountain piled high.

That night she sat  

Opening and straightening and reading 

But throwing each into the stove. 

Her words cremated and remain forever unheard.

Her heart beat hard in her chest 

Under the thousand pounds of weight.

She’d heard a ton of stones 

Weighs exactly the same as a 

Ton of feathers, 

Rocks kill quick

While feathers from an unseen bird 

Float into her mouth taking her breath and 

Slowly suffocating the poetess.

 

The world turned again 

And written in her hand the morning after

She picked up the papers reading 

Only “death” and “fear” and “cancer”

Not one the right answer. 

 

The poem, it’s complete 

Yet one simple question remained

Unanswerable. What’s there to gain

By knowledge, here anyway?

But why choose me? 

In her head a baritone voice said:

“You tell me why.”

And then she did.

Image by Ana Tavares

Waves

By Dawn Oswald

 

As I stare into the blue waves, I fear nothing

The beautiful blue waves take all my thoughts away

Away the cancer goes

That little bit of time I stare into those blue waves I am a peace

I am beautiful

I am strong

I can do anything

O beautiful blue waves stay with me forever so I can be at peace

Is it possible?

Yes,

When you are down take a deep breathe and remember me- the blue waves

Dream of them and let them take away your pain

For I am here to wave at you

Just breathe and think of the blue waves

Stare into that space and think of the beautiful blue waves

Let your thoughts go

Let it take your cancer away

Stare

Stare into the blue waves and fear nothing

Insomniac: Stage IV 

By Ilene Kaminsky 

Morning yawns and stretches its arms  

To part the curtains of night.  

Tired midwife to light from 

From her expectant horizon

The earth inches towards her morning.

Clean, cool fingers weave threads 

Of sweet perfumed wisteria and more

Unnamable long forgotten blooms. 

Clean and combed through dew damp air.

Buds nodding on their stems, 

Draw blood from my veins with thorns  

Like cat claws after a scare.

 

Suddenly clouds burst and showers fall

To save dry backyards and crops 

Now cut away from the view unguarded

From natures reach over treetops. 

Lost years and fences already raised

Desperate for mending and tattered. 

Puddled earth evicts worried worms,

Plucked by late rising birds from their 

Broken homes. 

 

While in my solitary confinement,

Within an escapable white picket fenced

Yard, I wave farewell to school busses

And to the workers who clean up the world.

Alone to remember cubes and corners

Push pinned photos, plaques of platitudes,

Email boxes and bustling buildings 

Where tight schedules and bright slides 

Bore like radiation into the heads of 

Departments of the thoughtless and benign. 

 

My wooden porch now a port of call for 

Rain long overdue for such late afternoons.

I’m stuck in an everlasting April spring day.

As sprinklers timed soak the lawn

The sun’s last rays motion with

Long, scolding fingers at

Now unknowable faded faces

Trapped like tonight’s fish for supper 

In this morning’s papers.

 

Laid out on a communal table

Where wisdom and innocence 

Convene to discuss the current 

Events of still births and deaths. 

Hands engaged with wild gestures 

Waving forks and spoons for effect - 

Interrupting pointless chatter to flatter

And cut meat from a fatted calf.

Everyone silenced by politeness,

Sliced right through the art of the matter.

 

The evening’s news flickers 

Behind shades of taffeta mmllooookmm

Hiding shadow boxes inside windows.

Like a sober fly in a glass of whiskey 

Wet wings legs spinning drowned

The hands of its god take it down.

 

I walk with solitude as she unwraps 

Her arms thick with compassion

Beckoning me inside for consolation.

Using one wave to cast away 

Anyone who might see me crying.

We sit together on a dark park bench

Watching every creature under suburban

Skies that all fit on a single broom stick. 

If no one bothers then no one counts

Things yet unseen, like angels

Atop a pin head. Yet we must believe 

That stars still sparkle until the dark unveils 

Who’s home and left behind 

To sing unearthly cries of grief.

 

Arched branches bow green

Soft leaves shake and flow

From willows left weeping

While night whispers to me: 

Please save us all. 

As the trees fade to black, 

Wind whips at my face.

From the fringes, howls

Break into my mind. 

I can no longer breathe

hidden and weak

In the between

With these heavier things.

Grateful

By Brookshire McDonald

I once wrote an essay

   Entitled my three “tits”.

Now I am inspired to write

   A poem to “it”.

 

Most of you are quite aware

   Breast cancer I had in my two

Which has made me express

   More compassion and love for you.

 

This year marks cancer anniversary

   Of number seventeen.

Through each of those I have been blessed

   During the days in between. 

 

You are in my prayers every night

   Of the week,

As on your journey

   Peace you do seek.

 

To have found a new asset

   Of awareness of others

Has been a true blessing

    From my sisters and brothers.

 

I am grateful beyond all of this

   In my life

That I didn’t have the third “tit”

   To bring me added strife!

A POEM (or Sharing My Moment Remembered)

By P.A.M

She laughed with delight

      as I explained

                       the frission of sunshine

           that lept after his sparkling orbs

       recognized            unexpectedly

                     tantalizing              fleeting

       just before they dipped again into 

a dim and unknown past. 

Because, she explained,

      in the midst of tragedy

facing death in it's brutal subtle grip

              edging closer still

                                    to a vile darkening fate

LIFE in its beautiful power

          asserted itself

        and claimed a right to love

                      to dreams

              to passions not yet danced. 

The irrepressible spark

            LIT. 

Embarking on an Ahab quest

       Lashed to love again. 

It’s Another Thing Now

By Ilene Kaminsky

I am willing to stand in gentle rain as the red sun sets,
But not to stand in a wind storm of sorrow and regret.
I used to own all the cloudless azure mornings still to come,

Before I knew my darkness could yield to the sun.

It is another thing now.

 

I am willing to see the sea sparkle in my lover’s sky blue eyes,

But not shield to my own for fear of drowning in life’s demise.

With honest hearts I will share the depths of my pain,

But with doubting minds I’ve no time left to explain.

It is another thing now.

 

I once slept deep cradled in his willing arms to rest,

Tonight I’m alone, an ailing hospital guest.

For warmer climes I’d give my body away to science,

To have a chance for a single night slowly dancing in silence.

It’s another thing now.

 

My time is limited and the day’s run late,

And I’m too busy netting butterflies to follow hardened dates.

There’s no time to waste on those who demand plans written in pen —
But long ago and once upon a  time I had a calendar without end.

It’s another thing now.

Image by Green Chameleon

Awareness

By Brookshire McDonald

Surviving breast cancer.org has enabled us

   To become friends really fast.

My hope is that all our friendships

   Will last and last.

 

Our boobs have brought us together

   As our stories we do share

Over states and even countries

   We come from almost everywhere.

 

Boobs of ours 

   Measured A,B,C,orD;

And one of you even claimed 

   To have been a G!

 

Plastic surgeons try to match them up

   The best they can do.

Mine don’t match at all;

   I don’t know about you.

 

With breast cancer diagnosis

   Many options come your way-

Lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstruction, tattoos

   Or flat to stay.

 

Having fallen from a ladder

   My journey did endure

Three leg surgeries, a blood clot, then two primary breast cancers

    And many prayers for sure.

 

I admire each of you

   As through breast cancer you go.

Your struggles, courage, and strengths

   Really do show.

 

On top of that road

   You are traveling today

COVID-19 has thrown 

   A wrench into play.

 

Dealing with just one issue

   Was a master feat.

Each of you now

   Has additional obstacles to beat.

 

I can laugh with you,

   And I can cry with you, 

But I can’t really imagine

   All you’re going through.

 

As you travel this journey-

   Not a choice you did choose,

You are reaffirming my faith

   That I didn’t lose.

You awakened my awareness'

   Of how blessed I have been;

And to have you as my cancer sisters

   Has introduced a special kin.

 

You may not realize it

  As your journey you do fight,

But each positive gesture of yours

   Brings to someone a promising light.