Sunday, 22 May 2016

Defiance





Sam Johnson, Australian actor, has been in my mind these past few weeks. Sam and his sister Connie are living their story of Connie's experience of cancer very publicly, through their campaign to raise money for cancer treatment, cure, eradication if they can. Love your Sister has captured imaginations with Sam's unicycling around Australia and his recent Swear Jars. They've written a book together, and are invited to speak in many different places. 

I follow their efforts through Facebook. Recently, Sam posted on their Facebook page that he had broken down in tears when speaking; it seem that Connie had been posting photos from hospital a bit more lately, too.
I didn't know how to write a poem that didn't sound twee. Until I was falling asleep the other night and the words began to take shape.
This is it.
Written for an actor whose work I love, and his sister, inspired by their love and defiance.

There's an anniversary around now of the death of a friend of mine to cancer, one of too many cancer took before their time. So posting this today seems appropriate.


Defiance 
Cancer was aiming to become the greatest
recruiter for Death – attack more hearts and beaten
breasts, and all the rest: ‘If not I, Cancer cried,
then others will still come and do the work, Death gets
you all, though you try so hard to forget.’ ‘Oh,
really?,’ the humans replied, ‘do you not see
that we live on inside the lives of all who do
remember, who put us back together
with the pieces of our stories? Take us,
do your worst, though we will fight to stop
you stopping lives before their time; take us,
and we will remake us ever more. For the more
you make us fear, the stronger we become;
determined to embrace the living we are given, eke it out
to one more moment, memory saved, more
ways of being grateful. We will learn
from your looming, to step out from the glooming:
be not then surprised to see us find
new ways to duck beyond your bony finger tips, however
tightly we are held within your grip; be not
amazed if we do grasp a victory each time a prize
you try to claim. So we will teach you the one
sure thing to keep us from defeat: one thing
that will resist and not be taken, though we may
fall, will each one breathe no more; one thing will live
beyond and take us with it, will carve those hollows
in Death’s eyes, make lies of that inevitability
of our lives, will keep us living – and that one thing?
Is Love. Yes, Love; for Love, you see, sleeps not – not ever.
Love weathers all your cloudy rainy days, your
moonless nights; Love watches, guards and searches
for the lost among the wolves; Love connects the next,
the kin, the friend, the loved and not even you, nor
Death can take the love that death releases from a heart
no longer beating, while other hearts beat on.’ 


2 comments:

Sandy Boyce said...

Beautiful, inspiring words. Thank you Sarah!

Heather said...

I live this so much. Thank you, Sarah.