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A Poem For National Poetry Month

Did you know April is National Poetry Month?

I’ve always admired poets. They say so much in just a few words. I’m working on this myself, not the poetry so much, but trying to be less wordy in my writing when I can be.

For National Poetry Month, I’m sharing a poem.

The poem I’m sharing is one of my favorites. It was written by friend and fellow blogger, Lois Hjelmstad. Lois is the author of Fine Black Lines:  Reflections on facing cancer, fear and loneliness. It’s a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.

I was fortunate enough to have Lois write a guest post a while back called Why I Did Not Choose Reconstruction. If you missed it, do check it out; it’s well worth a read.

The following poem by Lois is one of my absolute favorites because it says so much to me about forced positivity – a huge pet peeve of mine in Cancer Land.

Cancer or no cancer, I just know you’ll appreciate it too.

No Lifeguard on Duty

by Lois Hjelmstad

It is difficult

when one is drowning

to wave to the people

on shore

one wants to be

friendly, of course,

but perhaps it is

more important

to keep


Don’t you just love that?

I sure do.

Maybe someday I’ll tackle writing a poem or two myself!

Cancer or no cancer, have you ever felt like you were “drowning” due to too much “waving”?

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No Life Guard on Duty by Lois Hjelmstad, A Poem for National Poetry Month #poerty #poems #breastcancer

Lois Hjelmstad

Sunday 28th of April 2013

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing my poem. And thank you, my dear friends, who love it. It came to me while I was walking one day with my husband and we chanted it all the way home so I wouldn't forget it. For any who might want the info, I wrote Fine Black Lines in 1993, added an "Afterword" in 2003. My website and blog are at I'd love to meet you there!


Monday 29th of April 2013

Lois, It was my absolute pleasure. I love it. Thanks for sharing how it came to be and thanks for sharing more info about your site.


Sunday 28th of April 2013

Happy National Poetry Month!

One of my poems will be published in an anthology, THE CANCER POETRY PROJECT 2, which is due out any minute.

Here is another poem I would like to share with you:

There is no After

It’s Autumn, and so, everything’s dying. Beautifully. Or so it seems. Foliage, aspen and maple, drift, deciduous, outside our window. Even in a violent wind they come to rest gently amid the living, pale, crumble, return to the soil.

The window isn't open, but through the glass, we see winter approach. You are not dying, or so it seems. In truth, our Autumn is simply stretched out so far we can’t take it all in. We must live beautifully to die beautifully.

J. O'Nym


Monday 29th of April 2013

Jude, Congrats on getting one of your poems published! That's marvelous. Thanks for sharing your Autumn poem. It's lovely.

Lisa Valentine

Sunday 21st of April 2013

Nancy, Wonderful poems by both Beth and Lois! So stark and heart-wrenching, which is exactly what makes them so powerful. I love Lois' poetry too and appreciate the link to Beth's. Poetry, or any writing, can be so therapeutic and cathartic for anyone going through challenges like breast cancer. Here are two links to poems I have written, in two separate blog posts. I hope the links work.



Monday 22nd of April 2013

Lisa, Your comment really makes me consider tackling writing a poem... Thanks for sharing the links to yours. I'm off to check them out!

Facing Cancer Together

Sunday 21st of April 2013

Lois's poem is excellent. I've been thinking a bit more about poetry lately and reckon I might take a few shots at it. Thanks for reminder inspiration and very clever poem! ~Catherine


Monday 22nd of April 2013

Catherine, I think you should give it a shot! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Philippa (aka Feisty Blue Gecko)

Sunday 21st of April 2013

I love this, what a wonderful choice. Thank you Nancy for sharing, Beth for highlighting that it is National Poetry Month and THANK YOU to Lois for saying what is too often unsaid, so eloquently.


Sunday 21st of April 2013

Philippa, It is a stunning poem isn't it? I just love it. Thanks so much for commenting. It means a lot especially knowing all you're going through of late.

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