A lot of things I read in the “Inspiration” category sound like a lot of hooey to me, but the following really rings true:
Even when a cure is not possible, healing always is. You see, a cure involves our physical body. Healing involves that inner process of the mind and the spirit. There are people who are cured but are never healed. And then there are people who are healed even though they are not cured. That is the good news given to us — that healing is possible for every one of us regardless of our physical health.”
This is from Choices In Healing:Integrating The Best Of Conventional And Complementary Approaches To Cancer, by Michael Lerner. The author has a real passion for his subject, and compassion as well, so even though the book has been around for a while, it’s still popular. Lerner is also smart. He has been the recipient of one of those McArthur “genius prizes”. He also runs a non-profit center which offers “retreats” for cancer patients.
It’s hard to find poetry about Cancer, but Lerner managed to do it. He cites some verse from W.H. Auden, who wrote some “famous lines” about the disease. In the poem, a country doctor is ruminating about how strange cancer is:
Childless women get it
And men when they retire–
It’s as though they needed some outlet
For that foiled creative fire.
My take on this is that cancer, like any life-threatening event, causes a kind of emotional adrenaline rush, which may bring out the “foiled creative fire” in the patient (or those around them).
I think I can relate. When things got worse with Ted in recent months, you might say sparks of my own “foiled creative fire” started flying: I suddenly became interested in, even addicted to, poetry. It’s as if prose speaks to you but poetry screams at you: each word is so jam-packed with emotion. And who else talks so much about such grave subjects as Love, Loss, Adversity, Death and Immortality. It’s nice to know somebody’s been there before (and can express themselves well).
Poetry has given me immense pleasure, and has been a good outlet for me recently. I hope to share some of my favorites with you. Here are some lines from a beautiful love poem by W. H. Auden. I am dedicating this to a friend who just lost her beloved husband. Few can recite this with conviction, but she can. From “Funeral Blues”:
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
I have to catch my breath. Wow.