Cancer: The 'Emperor of All Maladies' Has Fallen

July 26, 2019
Chris Collins

A poem about how the medical community has helped reduce cancer and save lives.

The “Emperor of All Maladies” Has Fallen

by Chris Collins

Today you took my dear friend to bed.

Before that you pummeled, beat,

frightened, and horrified my family

after filling them all with dread.




You took them down repeatedly,

put them all in a wooden box,

then in a small dirt bed; you took them

laying there without covers or sox.

There is nothing kind, calm or gentle

about you 
or the bodies you wreak.

Your name “cancer” surely chills the

bones of the bodies you quietly meet.


You oppress, invade the innocents,

and leave those people quite bereft.

You break hearts; you’re insidious; 


your energy is deadly vigorous.

Though you’re a demon you don’t

discriminate. You’re democratic.

You welcome everyone with a

growing power that’s metastatic


You cast a long shadow hunting

like a ghost. Regardless of age, color

race or creed, you shock, overwhelm,

make all your suspects cower.

You travel long distances; you are

legion with no limits no borders.


You have many forms; you’re a scourge,

giving live organs your deadly orders.

Science revealed your clever disguises

diligently discovering your impervious style.

While we lived on the edge between dark and light

science helped us survive revealing your guile.

Your scythe - now blunted by science’s call -

Has caused the “emperor of all maladies” to fall.

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