Unheralded, unglimpsed, the danger never dreamed,
Assault is sudden, unforeseen.
Seized and pinioned by an overwhelming force,
The vicious kick behind the knees, the buckling blow,
Explosive, violent, propelling push:
An unwarned, brutal ambush.
The helpless onlookers can only wave
And broadcast messages of hope,
Of trying everything they know.
Held shackled, hoping for release,
Compliant to the captors' will,
In shaking shock the captive contemplates
The new enforced reality;
Hears all about the signs of normal life,
Imprisoned, parallel, cannot communicate,
But anguished by the loss of former rest
Just waits for fate and, agonised, reflects
Unending, real, the constant threat of death.
Kidnap was written at about the same time as Bluebells, being finished on 28 May 2006 athough it had been started much earlier. It was the first of her poems to be posted on the Breast Cancer Care forum; on 31 May 2006 she wrote:-
A forum member has encouraged me to consider posting some of my "cancer" writing on the forum. I have been reluctant to do so because of copyright, i.e. for proper protection I would have to disclose my identity and I am reluctant to do that. Also I have thought that my writing may be too dark and strong for this medium. However, I shall risk trying it for one time to see what reaction comes back. Here, then is my latest piece, completed 2 days ago towards the end of a fortnight's break from chemotherapy taken against clinical advice, principally because I felt I needed time to try to concentrate, while I still have time, on developing the many waiting fragments started before I became very ill a few months ago.
This piece started with an idea, a theme, and some random phrases last December. I had just finished radiotherapy and was on Herceptin, which had caused cardiotoxicity, and much resulting anxiety (but before collapse in February and subsequent diagnosis of extensive metastatic disease). Norman Kember had just been kidnapped in Baghdad, and that awful news reinforced my feelings of being ambushed by the disease, of being torn from safe certainties. I recorded in a note at the time:
"The current news of the elderly hostage held in Iraq reinforces my memories of shock, of feeling suddenly overtaken by an overpowering malevolent force and being propelled abruptly and without warning into horror, the certain prospect of suffering and the real constant threat of untimely death."
It is far from being one of my best pieces, but it expresses what I wanted to say at the time I started writing it. (The "threat" in the last line has become a certainty in my case). I think and hope it will ring a resonance with at least some readers, experiencing or recalling the overwhelming shock and aftermath of diagnosis
The responses which specifically referred to this poem were:-
(Thank you) jpoet for posting this, I think you have captured eloquently and powerfully the whirling thoughts and fears we all experience when confronted with illness and other life changing events. It must be very satisfying to be able to articulate your feelings in this way. I like poetry but find some are too opaque for me, yours is understandable and so real. I hope you take this is a compliment to a bona fide poet!
Thank you. I think your experiment has been successful. It eloquently expresses what life is like for you now and I'm sure will strike a chord with those with mets who are going through a similar experience. It also helps those of us who have primary bc to gain some understanding of what it is like to have to face the prospect of premature death. I don't think it is too dark or strong. It's a very effective piece of communication.
thought your poem just hit the right spot, hope to hear more take care
Brilliant JP! I read it after reading of your horrific chemo experience which made it all the more poignant. The loss of control over your own life is one of the things i find so difficult to accept. We really are kidnapped! Best wishes
Thank you for sharing this jpoet. A remarkable insight . I hope you are granted both time and the strength to write more (and to see your work published).
Your poem encapsulates my experience. Particuarly your lines ' In shaking shock the captive contemplates The new enforced reality'. So few words, yet they contain a whole world. Thank you for sharing your work.