There is no doubt that cancer is one of the most challenging conditions facing whole families and our society in the 21st Century. With the incidence of cancer ever increasing, it is just a matter of time before someone close to us has this illness which deviously challenges life itself.
Given the delicacy of the situation, as emotional turmoil is stirred not only in the sufferer as they face the unknown, the effects often ripple to everyone around as they struggle with how to be sensitive and yet caring.
The following are ten inspirational poems for those who have cancer. May they bring you joy, peace, and the odd wry smile.
Butler links the fight with cancer with wings, emphasising freedom, soaring above the disease, and focusing on all the good things that life can bring.
This poem brings hope and strength as it uses the powerful symbolism of wings to show strength, protection and uprising to cope with this challenge. Prayer is not only offered for overcoming this condition, but also as a blanket of support and love from others supporting the person who is on this journey.
Dietrich links her cancer to her faith in God and talks about how it helped her to struggle through the difficulties of treatment. The poem ends poignantly with the notion that by loving life she can keep her cancer at bay. By God’s Grace is suited for religious people who want to keep their faith strong through their fight.
A poem which travels the route of discovery, diagnosis, denial and finally dealing with decisions on how to manage breast cancer. There is much reality in this piece as you literally feel her angst and worry with the words.
Sometimes it can seem like cancer takes everything, but What Cancer Cannot Do reminds people that there are still things in life, and even after it, that cannot be taken away. The author of this warming poem seeks to inspire cancer patients facing death, helping provide courage and peace.
This quote - "Cancer is a word, not a sentence" by John Diamond sums up the essence of this poem. It can seem that cancer can blight he horizon, as it is a step into the unknown in many ways, however it is also a time to try to keep the cup half full and realise it is does not change the person, or their core essence.
In A Stranger Comes to Call, Kehoe transforms cancer into a living, breathing person with intentions. Cancer personified is evil, but ultimately, Kehoe points out, will be defeated by human effort. It is a poem for people who long for a cure for the disease.
It is always the case that a diagnosis of cancer raises questions of why, how and when. It is very natural to wonder why this dark and deceptive disease arrives, but this poetry is light and positive as to the battle that is on.
Fussell laments the loss of his father to cancer. His poem is a source of inspiration for all those suffering from the loss of somebody they love. It’s a simple poem about a simple, yet valuable, man.
A very poignant piece of writing about the importance of the person, and not the illness. Cancer cannot outshine or overshadow the human spirit, and this piece demonstrates this perfectly as even if facing a terminal condition, there is much that can be achieved and enjoyed.
What is even more fitting in this piece, is the way in which Fussell gives little airtime to this condition, and his storytelling is all about his father, A Simple Man, who achieved so much and was clearly LOVED by so many. These words are inspiring, as often just knowing you are loved and valued can mean much at challenging times.
Bhatti takes the fight directly to cancer in her poem, Cancer. She implies that patients are in a battle with the disease, a relentless foe, but it is a battle that will never be reported in the news. It goes on silently, slowly, and the outcome is uncertain.
This poem is raw and honest about the path that cancer can take in the body. The silence is particularly poignant, as no one relishes pity when facing cancer so silence often replaces venting true feelings about the condition. There can also be an element of silence about being somehow selected for this condition, and the perception of others.
Wheeler takes the view that cancer is a bully. The poem will strike a chord with anybody trying to come to terms with the existential reality of the disease and the horror of diagnosis.
Well, Wheeler calls out and offers "times up" declaration to cancer, stating bluntly we now know who cancer is and we are turning the tables. This is clever and sheer mastery to invoke the fighting spirit against this disease which more often than not, turns up unexpected and leaves lives in disarray.
Rosa talks about the world as she would like to see it in the future: one where science has prevailed over cancer. She speaks directly to people who know that their time is limited, whether that is because they have the disease or somebody they know does.
This poem has subtle undertones of the song "Imagine" by John Lennon with is full of hope and optimism for a better future. Rosa perfectly inspires hope and invokes the fighting spirit which is so important when fighting illness, and in particular cancer.
Most medical professionals now recognise the importance of a positive attitude when facing illness as a cup half full allows us to pull on reserves in the human spirit to cope and fight this condition. Any diagnosis of illness can lead to depression and low mood, so keeping the spirit happy and hopeful is best. Not only can it help to deal with challenging treatments, but it can allow the fighting spirit to exude.
Just a contemporary thought about a nice gesture for this particular poem, as it may be great to pair as a gift with a CD of the track by John Lennon, even better if you can get "Imagine" also on the disc as purely an instrumental, so the text of this poem can be substituted in the mind as the track is listened to. Music is a great way to relax and distract oneself from external pressures of life, so this may be an excellent way to say "I care" and "I'm thinking of you!"
Griswold uses Think Pink to remind women about the importance of self-examination. She uses subtle humour and helpful rhyming to get her point across.
Pink is now strongly associated with breast cancer awareness, and his poem drums home the importance of this simple check.
Katele talks about her struggles with her thyroid cancer - what her doctors termed a “good” cancer because it is unlikely to kill her. She reminds readers that although cancer may make you physically weaker, it invariably makes you mentally stronger.
This poem is written from the perspective of a young person, and addresses that there is no good cancer, as it still causes all the same effects and path of treatments to face. There are no guarantees in life, and that point is clearly made in that the same journey into the unknown is taken.
Cancer is still a rare condition, and no two patients are ever the same. Each person will react differently to diagnosis and treatment, so there is no set formula for how others should respond or react; however with any challenging situation there are certain things which help.
LOVE - Just knowing that you have people around who love you and care about you, can be truly empowering and uplift the spirit. Sometimes, friends can be afraid of saying the wrong thing, and opt to say nothing. However, imagine how it would feel to have your friends disappear when you are diagnosed with cancer.
We have suggested poetry above, as often a few lines of wise words resonate more, but just a telephone call or a card to say "Hi, I'm thinking of you", can work equally well.
CARE - Taking time to spend with someone, or to do something for another is precious. Knowing that people care about you, can in itself feel like a sea of support.
TIME - This is one that often does not receive recognition as cancer manipulates the time that a sufferer has. Just giving your time, as a friend is a wonderful gift, be it to listen, to do something considered or to be available to accompany for treatment and tests, are all great ideas of ways to show you care, and more importantly that you are there with them on this challenging journey!!
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