Treasure Island

Richard Lackman

(Philadelphia)

Almost Cancer


Today I met a man who thought that he was truly dying
This brush with his mortality had left him lost and crying
He never really understood how fragile life can be
And now his hopes and desperation focused square on me

I had a kindly conversation with him and his wife
I guaranteed that I would do my best to save his life
I reassured him that this tumor might still be benign
If not we hoped that we had caught it in the nick of time

Next day I gave him his good news that it was nothing bad
He and his wife were quite relieved and yet they both seemed sad
They looked back at their lives and saw so many wasted years
They smoked too much and drank too much and cried too many tears

That day that he thought he was gone was really quite a gift
It made him see that up ‘til then his life was just adrift
Although I never had to work a wonder with a knife
That day was not forgotten and in fact it saved his life.

Submitted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (5/6/2014 1:41:00 AM)

    Really human feeling in its correct meaning and words the poets says here with experience he had with the patient who is eagerly waiting for the final result whether it is benign or negative the dreaded one. The final result is decided in the patients favor and saved the life in a narrow wish of the time. A physican have the opportunity to see such circumstances of woes of his patients and their eagerness and I have myself felt this complication regarding the disease of my sister in law and her eagerness to ascertain to save the life upto the last moment had a everlasting memory. The poet also says here the adverse consequences of the smoking habit which we can avoid at least for an escape. (Report) Reply

  • Cynthia Buhain-baello (9/4/2012 9:04:00 PM)

    Very striking and relevant theme for all of us who take life for granted -and the sudden realization that it can end today jolts us to the awareness (and regret) of how we wasted our lives on things that have no eternal value. Great poem worth printing for all to read. (Report) Reply

  • Josephine Collett (5/5/2012 3:41:00 AM)

    One who had a fortunate reprieve. Love your poetry Richard - there is so much humanity in it and as a Christian, former cancer patient and nature lover, I find much to relate to and enjoy. Thank you for sharing your work and best wishes with your writing. (Report) Reply

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