‘Cancer’ by Yakov Azriel of Israel The Society January 17, 2013 Poetry 2 Comments I. It’s not an easy thing to die, it’s not An easy thing to make believe I cling To hope when every day my doctors bring Me proof how sick my body is. Yet what Can doctors do, but sigh? There’s not a lot Of time till winter reigns, for by the spring My branch will break; it’s not an easy thing To keep a forest in a flowerpot. I feel the autumn’s chill. My daughter looks At me, then turns aside to cry. Her task Is hard, explaining to her son that I Will never play with him or read him books. O God, it’s not an easy thing You ask Of us, it’s not an easy thing to die. II. I’m jealous of a mongrel’s flea — this flea Will witness summer’s ebb and flow, not die In early spring; I’m jealous of a fly That thrives in August and September’s bee. I’m jealous of the smallest fish that’s free To navigate the ocean’s breadth and try To find an island’s safe lagoon, while I Must use a raft which cannot cross the sea. Don’t ask me what my doctors think, I know I’ll never see my son get married nor Embrace my wife when she is old. I won’t Enjoy a grandchild’s hug or watch him grow; The leaky raft I sail won’t reach his shore. Please, don’t ask me how I feel. Don’t ask. Don’t. III. So little time is left until I die, Till executioners of darkness climb The staircase to my room. So little time Remains before I have to bid goodbye To everyone I love, to everyone whom I Believed I could protect. What is the rhyme And reason for my death? What is my crime Or mortal sin my death will nullify? I hear the silence of the clock. Bereft Of morning sun, day’s last few rays of light Are disappearing as my afternoon Transforms to dusk. So little time is left; But in the night, O Lord, my coming night, Please let me see the dawning of Your moon. Yakov Azriel was born and educated in New York, but has lived in Israel for over 40 years. He has published four full-length books of poetry in the USA (all by Time Being Books, a literary press based in St. Louis), and over 200 poems in magazines in the USA, the UK and Israel. In addition, his poems have won fifteen different awards in international poetry competitions. These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 2 Responses Sally Carter January 17, 2013 What a remarkable poem. Superb, inspiring and accomplished. A privilege to read. I am standing to applaud your writing. Reply Glenn Meisenheimer January 17, 2013 Yakov, Every once in a while I come across a poem that simply takes my breath away. This is one of those. Its precise use of language and metaphor (which is also language of a sort, I suppose) stuns me. Something valuable will be left for your children and grandchildren, and for all of us still adrift on that sea. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.