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“I Miss Them” (my breasts) 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 Lois Hjelmstad. One of her poems that really speaks to me is featured in a post I shared last April. That poem remains one of my all-time favorites. You’ve gotta 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 share one of my poems with you, Dear Readers. Well, here it is one year later and April is nearly over, so time is running out for that sharing part. Gulp.

Writing poetry is challenging 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 maybe 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 free to express yourself however you choose. Nice, right?

So enough with the stalling; here’s the poem I chose to share with you today. 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 Them (my breasts) A Poem for #NationalPoetryMonth #poems #poetry #Writing
I Miss Them (my breasts)

Ilene Kaminsky

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

Nancy As a poet and writer I can say that poetry is a matter of the heart. The very best poetry boils up from the fire inside of us and burns away the page leaving nothing but the truth. It does not have to take years of school to understand the meaning. It makes us think, laugh, cry, but most of all feel along with the poet. I can feel (no pun intended) how it must be to lose part of the identity of being a woman. I feel about as feminine as a boy some days. My hormones and lumpectomy made me flat but I love not wearing a bra. I don’t love not wearing a bra too. I miss them, my figure, my hair, my eyebrows, my nose hair. I hate farting in line at the grocery store with no dog to say “bad dog!l” to for having polluted the scene. I’m tired. But you’re a poet and you’re a writer and you use your words to convey what life in a cancer body is like, speaking for yourself and for those who cannot. Write poetry. It’s a way to strip it all down to a few words and then fewer still once it’s edited. Read it and let the emotion come forth - it’s a beautiful poem. Looks like a great idea maybe to put a small anthology of poetry together even online for women with breast and ovarian cancer. I think we all have a few good ones in us!

Nancy

Thursday 25th of April 2019

Ilene, You're so right, poetry is a matter of the heart. A lot of writing is, but poetry takes it to another level. I love your idea of putting together an anthology of poetry. Will have to give that some thought. Thank you for reading my poem and sharing some thoughts on the power of poetry.

Eileen

Wednesday 19th of April 2017

Nancy, I love your poem. Of course we have to express our losses and what better way than poetry? I wrote a poem called Fatigue on my blog: http://www.womaninthehat.com/fatigue/ While others write of love and loss, we write of breasts and energy and the loss of those things.

Joyce

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

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.

Mitzi Moh

Friday 1st of April 2016

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." GASP! The doctor said, "It's Cancer."

I feel like I've been punched in the gut: numb, scared, shocked, stunned-- HELP!

I can't talk: anxious, lost, lonely, dazed. "IT'S CANCER!"

Tearful. Alone, Exhausted, 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 ANY IS TOO MANY... TOO MUCH CANCER

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

Nancy

Saturday 2nd of April 2016

Mitzi, Wow, that is powerful. Thank you for sharing your poem.

Jan Hasak

Friday 1st of April 2016

Beautifully put!

Betty

Friday 2nd of May 2014

All the poems were so expressive. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy

Friday 2nd of May 2014

Betty, Thanks for reading them and for the kind words.

Beth L. Gainer

Thursday 1st of May 2014

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.

Nancy

Thursday 1st of May 2014

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.

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