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I miss my breasts, a poem

April Is National Poetry Month, So I’m Sharing a Poem!

Did you know April is National Poetry Month? I didn’t until last year. One of my favorite poets is the wonderfully wise and articulate Lois Hjelmstad. Lois is a breast cancer survivor and a gifted author and poet. One of her poems that really speaks to me is featured in a post I wrote last April. That poem is one of my all-time favorites. I hope you’ll read it.

I promised myself last April that before the next National Poetry Month rolled around I would try writing some poetry and that I would also share one of my poems here on my blog. Well, here it is one year later and April is nearly over, so time is running out for that sharing part.

Writing poetry is challenging for me for many reasons, one being that you must choose your words even more carefully to say what you want with limited word usage. Sharing poetry is also challenging because in some ways sharing poems you’ve written feels even more personal than sharing a blog post or an essay.

I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I think it’s partly because in order to write poetry you have to be even more willing to expose pieces of your inner private self in just a few words. You can’t explain too much. You just have to put yourself out there. There’s risk involved in writing of any kind, maybe more so when writing poetry.

One thing I love about poetry is that there are no rules. Oh sure, there are some rules for certain kinds of poetry writing, but mostly you’re quite free to express yourself however you choose. Nice, right?

So enough with the stalling; here’s a poem I chose to share with you today. It was written a while back and yes, it’s personal and yes, it was difficult to hit publish, but here it is.

I Miss Them (My Breasts)

I miss them –
Their shape, their naturalness and how they made me feel.
Anatomy parts that once were mine, and then one day just gone.

I never said a proper goodbye.
There wasn’t time.
There was the cancer…

I have new ones now, quite different from my firsts.
Their shape, their feel is still quite foreign, as if they don’t belong.
Because of course, they don’t.

I miss them.
Sometimes it seems I should not say this,
Or even dare to think it.

I am alive.
I should be grateful.
And I am, but…

I miss them.
I didn’t want to part with them and pretend it didn’t matter.
It did. It does. It always will.

I know now that grief and gratitude can co-exist.
And so I’m done pretending.
I miss them.

It’s okay to feel this way and say so right out loud.
And so I’m done pretending.
I miss them.

Have you written any poetry? If so, feel free to share a poem or a link.

If you’ve had breast surgery of any kind, do you miss your originals as they once were?

Have you ever felt as if you shouldn’t say certain things, or even feel certain ways about your cancer experience?

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I  miss my breasts, a poem

23 thoughts on “April Is National Poetry Month, So I’m Sharing a Poem!

  1. dear Nancy,

    here’s a poem I wrote…

    for comfort

    may we be granted an open heart
    to hear the gentle beckoning
    “come hold my hand. look about you
    and see the bounty of provisions for your soul.
    be quiet and listen.”
    for in the stillness comes blessed peace.
    when your eyes behold
    the wonders of verdant Spring,
    so heartbreakingly beautiful,
    the mingled tears of joy and sorrow
    will bring a soothing balm
    to your weary eyes.
    so go, go to that silent and lovely place
    when you are able and in need.
    soon you will learn of the great healers-
    Time, Nature, and Patience.

    dedicated to all my dear friends and those I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting, who may need comfort and healing.


    Karen xoxo

    1. Karen, Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful poem with us. Once again, your kind and generous soul shines through and yes, those great healers… xx

  2. Thanks for sharing the poems Nancy and Karen. Poetry has always been a healthy outlet for me to process emotions, heal, grow in acceptance. Here is a poem I wrote about 6 months after my bilateral mastectomy:


    Two parts
    Of me
    Are missing
    Never to return

    Let me
    Rephrase that

    They aren’t
    They were
    Taken from me
    For reasons
    Worthy of
    Such a deed

    They aren’t
    But I am
    Missing them
    At times

    I am a
    Double amputee
    Who misses
    Her twin parts
    What they were
    What they
    Could do
    When still

    Never to return
    So final

  3. Thank you for the shout-out, Nancy. I really appreciate it. I like the poems shared here very much.

    On May 7-8, my second book, The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, will be a FREE Kindle book. See those two days. I’d love your readers to have the free download.

    1. Lois, You’re very welcome. I love that poem of yours I shared. Just love it. And thank you for sharing about your free book offer coming up. That’s terrific and very generous of you. I’ll have to remember to download it.

  4. Nancy,

    Your poem is so poignant, and it truly resonates with me. You have every right to miss your breasts. I totally get what you are saying, and I love it and hope you keep writing more poetry.

    I write poetry, too, as you know. It’s a great form of self-expression.

    1. Beth, Thank you very much. I would like to try writing more poetry and you’re so right about it being a great form of self-expression. Poems are hard to share though, don’t you think? Thanks for always getting it, Beth.

  5. Here is one I wrote a couple years ago.

    “It’s Cancer!”
    Copyright © 2014 Mitzi M. Moh

    The dreaded wait,
    The fateful words,
    The gloomy day.
    “It’s Cancer.”
    The doctor said, “It’s Cancer.”

    I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut:

    I can’t talk:
    “IT’S CANCER!”

    How will I do this?
    What will happen?
    What is my future?
    My life – changed forever.
    I want my mind back.
    I need support that I never expected.
    I keep hearing the word cancer, CANcer, CANCER.

    A label I don’t want.
    A throng that is too large.
    “IT’S CANCER!”
    A bond with others who have heard the same

    Together we HOPE. Together we LEARN. Together we HEAL.

    1. Eileen, I read your poem in Nancy’s most recent blog. You captured the feeling of profound fatigue perfectly.
      I wanted you to know that I enjoyed it.

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