Striving for perfection
A feat that I concede
May lead to an imperfection
Of my personality
Critiquing all the writing
Ensuring it is free
From grammatical delusion
No need for subtlety
Proposition and a verb
The subject here is me
These rules are non-negotiable
Who has deceiv’d thee?
And please call me a pedant
A badge I wear with glee
There’s no shades to this grey
I’m apathetic to your grief
So smugly I deliver
My damned philosophy
I give to you my ‘feedback’
Update it by decree
After feeling frustrated at how anal I find myself being over how the blog posts read, I wrote Perfection. It is supposed to be a humorous interpretation of an individual prescriptively reviewing a piece of emotional work, such as my blog posts about cancer. They are examining it with the same ethos as to how they would score an essay, ignoring what the words are saying and focusing on the inaccuracies of the grammar.
I studied for an English Language degree as an undergraduate. Some people who know this will occasionally use it as a quip when I incorrectly spell something, as if I spent 3 years reading the dictionary and studying the oxford comma. I have seldom admitted that we did have grammar modules, though, so it’s not totally unreasonable to expect better from me where you find such errors.
Due to the nature of the blog posts and how quickly I tend to write, read, re-read and post them, I find myself cringing at things I’ve written. It usually happens the next day when I decide to re-read the final version that I uploaded and start wondering how on earth I allowed such drivel to be made public to the world. In reality, I know that I am being a pedant and that the central point usually speaks for itself in the posts. If you notice something grammatically wrong, though, please let me know as soon as possible. I can then correct it before any more judgmental readers wonder how I got a first in my English Language degree because I did that, by the way.
The boundaries are blurred so I wait
Observing from a distance,
I consider my fate
In time there’s some meaning
I establish my feelings
A calming naivety, au fait
As I recoil back within
Escape the prison of my skin
I know that I suffer, but I’m alive
There’s moments of fear
And flashes of pain
Some days last an hour
Some hours last a day
In confidence I cry out and drop the facade
But I fight on regardless
I wrote ‘Alive’ about a week after being finally diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I’ve been reading it in my notes on my phone since Monday, as I am finding myself relating to the words much more than I have been of late. This cycle of chemotherapy has been the most uncomfortable so far and my mood is suffering a bit because of it. At the time of writing this poem I felt unsure about my diagnosis and how worried I was. The first 3 verses were written about my struggle to come to terms with both the mental and physical elements of the diagnosis. The last 3 verses were then added the next morning when I woke up feeling particularly “doomy” about the situation.
Although I want to be as positive about my scenario as I can be, an important part of my process is always accepting negative feelings and trying to deal with them in a healthy way. Pretending that I do not get upset, scared or worried by the diagnosis, and what the future holds for me, will not stop those feelings surfacing. Unfortunately, I am having a few tough days where those feelings are getting the better of me. But it does mean that it feels right to share this poem now, so I hope you enjoy!
I’ll be back to the blogging shortly.
All I have is time
I had it before, but now it stares at me.
The morning waves, the evening scowls
My watch holds my wrist
My head falls through the pillow
It screams and pulls my eyes open
And my watch is waiting, staring:
I wrote 3:00am in the first week after I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour. The results of the PET scan had shown a “localisation” in my pancreas. This was both good and bad news: good news as the localisation was only in the pancreas (meaning that it had not spread), but bad news as it confirmed that it was indeed cancer. I was struggling to sleep, but fell into a strange pattern of nodding off at around 2:00am, only to wake up at 3:00am again. I wrote the poem after the third consecutive night of checking my phone and seeing those fateful numbers again.
Although the poem seems depressing, I actually take a fair amount of humour from it now. The idea that a specific time was haunting me felt quite pertinent at 3:00am when I was struggling to sleep and worrying about my diagnosis, but in the morning was quite funny again.
I still regularly wake up at 3:00am, but have been using that time to write and learn how to structure the blog. It has become a favourite time of mine to work, so overall this is a true redemption story!
If I could suspend time in this moment
could I find happiness?
Would the still figures in the street provide company
or isolate me further?
Could I observe the stationary flight of birds
and hear the rustling of an unmoving tree?
And is water so motionless
that I can walk across it like concrete?
Should I find happiness
knowing that nothing will ever change?
As I create stories in the stillness
and make the frozen world my stage
I have become quite obsessed with thinking about time since being diagnosed, which is where the concept of this poem came from. By suspending time, you may be able to stop certain negative realisations from occurring in the world. These may be fairly trivial, such as avoiding confronting a close friend over something that they have said to you that you did not like. In my case, I contemplated the cancer. By suspending time, I would not be allowing myself the chance to potentially get better, but it also guarantees my life, along with the lives of all of my friends and family around me. But I would not have the opportunity to enjoy any of those things if they are truly suspended, so would it make it happy?