Thursday, 27 June 2013

Prose For Thought - 1 in 3

Prose for Thought

I'm delighted to be hosting Prose For Thought this week, while Vicky from Vevivos enjoys a well earned holiday. Please link up any original poetry or prose below, and if you would like to display the Prose For Thought badge you can find it here.

Please also note that Vicky and I are on the lookout for poetry and prose posts to highlight in our monthly Britmums Round-up. This goes live on the first Wednesday of every month. Feel free to tweet your links to @EllieAllAtSea and @VicWelton.

This poem was written after a recent visit to a cancer genetics counsellor. We are fighters in our family and although we have lost a few to cancer, 3 of my closest relatives have successfully battled the disease in their adult lives...

1 in 3

Cancer affects every 1 in 3,
she said,
facts and statistics across a desk.

And drew our family tree,
branches tangled of years and years,
edge of the paper and onto the second sheet.

Far flung back -
name and date and was she married?
When was her death and did she have family?

And with a pen,
circles for women and squares for men,
children and cousins and where do the branches end?

In fallen leaves, I guess.

In one or 2,
an aunt with a father we never knew,
bowel and breast and at what age and all that means for you.

For me - as well as you.

And little shadows coloured in,
you and your sister identical twins,
cancer found in women's lives made tidy by paper and pen.

And what of risk?
What of all that's merely chance?
Sheer bad luck or likelihood that it should cross my path?

She said low to moderate - she said be glad of that.

And 1 in 3?
Wind the clock back 40 years,
you and Dad and Auntie Wilma corner of the street...

Statistics for the 3 of you? You beat it - 3 in 3.


  1. Cancer... seen so beautifully from a genetic point of view. One in three is such a frightening stat. And it is all of our potential futures. Good to watch the news the other night and to be able to say there is potentially a preventative tablet for women who carry such a high risk of breast cancer on its way... tentative prose, thank you Helen. x

  2. A very powerful poem and what comes through is, of course, sadness but moreover strength and fight. I loved the switch from the visual form filling in/family tree to fallen leaves. Beautiful.

  3. Such a hopeful post on a topic that scares so many of us. My mum's family included seven brother and sisters, only one left and all lost to cancer.
    A reminder to us all to live life and to build memories.

  4. "In fallen leaves, I guess" - gave me goosebumps. A beautiful testament to the way cancer touches us all.

  5. That sentence gave me goosebumps too Nell. Thanks for hosting this week Helen xx

  6. Cancer made neat by pen and paper. Clever line this! And the one about the fallen leaves is beautiful.

  7. Yep "In fallen leaves, I guess" was my favourite line too. Stunning, once again. We had a similar study done and the result was also that there was only a low risk.

  8. I am in agreement with all the above 'in fallen leaves' is darkly beautiful and so evocative. Sadness and hope and strength all in one! X.


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