Cancer's Terror in the Night


Cancer is an emotionless assassin that can attack us and the ones we love most.

Image of the moon and stars.

in the Night. Sonnet 304

My brother died from cancer, piece by piece.

His spirit stood so strong; bold, and upright.

His agony and pain, it did not cease.

Cancer; a vile murd’rer in the night.

My cancer, it ripped chunks right off my face.

Alive, I tell the saga of my fight.

To my fellow suff’rers, I thus embrace,

‘gainst Cancer; terror, stalker in the night.

Deep within, the warrior in our souls,

does battle as we fight from dark to light.

We struggle on, to keep our psyches whole,

against cancer, the devil of the night.

Cancer, an emotionless assassin.

Cancer steals our lives; yet not our passion.

Everyone’s life is touched by cancer. You cannot live into adulthood without cancer hitting a friend, a loved one, a sibling, a child. My younger brother Michael had a particularly virulent strain of oral squamous cell carcinoma. I had two bouts with metastatic melanoma.

Michael and I both had pencil eraser sized initial lesions. His was on his tongue. Mine was just in front of my left ear’s tragus. His spread like a pandemic throughout his mouth, head and neck. Mine was contained to an area about the size of a 3x5 index card.

Michael died on December 14, 2012. Mine struck in 2006 and I survived to write a top-selling book about melanoma that has over 50 reviews on Amazon.

As a poet, it is my job to write the truth in unalloyed terms. I work in sonnets because the strict form of 14 lines of 10 syllables each, with a strict rhyme scheme, forces you to say exactly what you mean; there is no wiggle room. I have written dozens of poems about life and death. I write often about how near-brushes with death create a sense of joy and urgency in one’s life. I write often about how death leaves you gutted.

This sonnet, number 304, is the exemplar of my poetic work.

This post was written and submitted by David L. Stanley. The article reflects the views of Stanley and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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