Lifesaving Poems: Julia Darling’s ‘Chemotherapy’ vs ‘Psalm 102’

Remarkable this. Quite wonderful.

Anthony Wilson

I was astonished to find in an old diary today that by 8 March 2006, less than one month after I was diagnosed with cancer, I had already been given two infusions of chemotherapy. The speed of the cycles of my particular treatment was due to my successful volunteering to take part in a randomised control trial testing the efficacy of a cycle of 14 days against 21 days, or, in the jargon, ‘CHOP-R 14 vs 21’.

It is odd what you remember. The twenty tiny cherry-red pills I had to swallow with milk during for five days after each infusion. (These were steroids. They were deeply un-fun, let me tell you). The Piriton chaser injection just ahead of the main infusion, ‘to send you away with the fairies, my lover’, as one nurse put it. She wasn’t wrong. 

Most of all I remember the swathes of bright blue…

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The Colour of Peace – an exhibition of poetry and visual art for the International Day of Peace September 21st- 25th 2015

Colours draft poster


Rose will be showing her photobook House of Light and two poetry books:  Taking Flight (2009 Oversteps Books) and Notes From a Bright Field  (2013 Cultured Llama Publishing).

The exhibition will be held at:

TAAG, 4/5 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8DD


On falling and Icarus

Musee des Beaux Arts

W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.