Reading Time: 2 minutes
Revised August 2023

"In 2007 I had to receive treatment for cancer. Each day for six weeks I attended the oncology department. I met people there that I will never forget." - Allen Ansell

Dreams are dispersed;
are long forgotten –
those which lit his face
and warmed his pained heart.
What is this being?
What is this nightmare
given to achieve?
The bitter witch mixed
her mucky brew and
passed the cup around …

“Oh come and drink my sticky brew…”
“Forget your frazzled working life…”
“Come, get sozzled right through…”
“This elixir’s made just for you.”

A poisoned chalice?
Call it what you will.
The throw of the dice?
Old fashioned bad luck?

And so he drank –
on his way home.
Released to be
savouring wet
salty kisses
on distant shores;
passion and love
on a sand beach.
Daydreamed good luck.
Harmless escape.
Never indulged
into excess.

But she invaded.
And now the greyness
consumes his being;
drip by drip, by cell.
First came a stabbing
sudden, fleeting pain.
Then deepening aches
after exertion.
And now hell on earth;
even breath is pained.

I am seized with the desire to touch him –
just a simple hand upon his shoulder.
Camaraderie? But it is not PC.

And this sun …
it shines
onto his back
and heats the place
where the cobalt
beams have redenned
his ageing skin.
She has almost
finished stealing him.
Even the life giving sun
brings him pain.
He will never be
the same again.

None of us will.

© Allen Ansell 2023