National Poetry Month


I’m taking part in a National Poetry Month (#NaPoMo on Twitter) challenge set up by the Found Poetry Review. What does this have to do with breast cancer? Nothing much, except that after a too-long absence I started writing poetry again after I was diagnosed with DCIS seven years ago.

As part of the challenge I need to try to upload a poem a day throughout the month of April to the PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scout) site, using a variety of prompts. So far I’ve written a poem using only words found on a menu, created haiku from a site that scrambles the original haiku you load into it, and created a poem using only questions found in a source text. I can’t share any of the poems here; all 213 “scouts” (poets) taking part from around the world are posting their poems on the site. I urge you to check it out because some of the work people are creating is nothing short of amazing. It’s on Twitter as #PoMoSco if you want to follow along there–they post new poems every day. It’s a lot of work and I probably won’t earn all 30 badges, but it’s a lot of fun.

I’m telling you this for two reasons. First, you may have noticed I don’t blog much any more. I’ve been trying to decide whether to take this blog in a new direction while keeping the original name, or shuttering it and coming up with something new.

But more importantly, if there’s something creative you love and have gotten away from, or something creative you’ve never tried but wanted to, why not try it now? You might be surprised at what you come up with. Even if you decide all you want to do is write down your thoughts about your journey in cancer or in life, it can be a very healing experience.

Feel free to share your thoughts (and poems!) here.

Happy Poetry Month!


My Health Haikus

Today is Day Six of the WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month, in which they challenge health bloggers to write a post a day about health. I knew from the start I wouldn’t do it–I’ve gone from a weekly blog to twice a month at best.

But I am greatly enjoying following along with my friend Marie Ennis-O’Connor at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer as she tackles this daily assignment. And lo and behold, today’s assignment was to write a haiku about your health focus. Which dovetails perfectly with National Poetry Month in the U.S. I love poetry; always have. I’ve recently recommitted myself to it by applying to graduate school for an MFA so I can work on getting better at it. (I found out on Monday that I was accepted.)

So when Marie encouraged me to jump in and write a haiku, I felt obligated. And when I thought about my health journey, it seems to be on a double track.

First, there’s coming to terms with your body. When you’re young and healthy it is so easy to take your body for granted. First, you learn that something can go wrong. Then you learn that several things can go wrong and that your first foray into health trouble almost certainly won’t be your last. The preferred term in Cancer World is recurrence.  

Second, there’s the urge to reach out. You realize that if you’re afraid of something or wondering about something, then someone else is too.

So, based on those two things, here are my stabs at a couple of health haikus.


Balancing act is
learn how body turns on you
yet not be afraid.


Try to be grateful
for life I’m so blessed to have,
and help when I can.

Haiku is a classic 5 syllable/7 syllable/5 syllable structure, which takes discipline but also affords a lot more variety than you might think. (It’s kind of like tweeting!) Feel free to jump in and try it! I’d love to see what you come up with.