For a Friend Fighting Cancer

And so it seems before the dawn
that darkness reigns and hope is gone.
I understand that is the way you feel.

But dawn will come, and then bright sun.
One day your struggle will be done.
And you will be quite different when you heal.

Small simple things will bring great joys,
the sky, a breeze, a child’s new toys,
a lovely flower or a pretty dress.

A favorite song, a warm embrace,
a warm inviting fireplace,
a loved one’s smile or tender soft caress.

And pleasures once almost ignored
will suddenly be most adored
and prompt an upward glance and grateful tear.

The minor things that once seemed bad
will make you neither low nor sad
or overcome with anger or great fear.

Like others who have won their fight
and made it back into the light
you will possess a wondrous inner glow.

Each day a small new treasure found.
But what perhaps is most profound
is that each day your inner strength will grow.



Should We Leave with a Bang or a Whimper?

Some claim after our final breath
a soul survives the body’s death
and some kind of an afterlife begins.

Some others say that when we die
and utter our last earthly cry
we’re dust and just wind up in garbage bins!

I think it may well be the case
when we depart the human race
the details of departure are what matter.

For one can leave the mortal plane
in total peace or with great pain,
silently or with a bang or splatter.

A gas main leaks, a match is lit
and that will be the end of it
for some unlucky person near the leak.

A forlorn lover on a ledge
quite high above the walk and hedge
just slips and meets an end they did not seek.

Now will that someone blown to bits
now separated from their tits
ascend to heaven and be full and whole?

Will the one who yearned to cuddle
now a squishy sidewalk puddle
have a healthy fully intact soul?

The fact is that we just don’t know.
It’s a mystery where we go.
A scary, cruel and baffling final joke.

Fade, dissolve, reincarnate,
ascend in some true blissful state?
We do not know what happens when we croak.

Perhaps the best approach to take
is take it slow for heaven’s sake!
It will not help to rush ahead and worry.

If we return to dust, that’s swell!
But if we’re headed to some hell
the last thing that we ought to do is hurry!



Lee Goldberg (aka Rantingsenior) is a writer who lives in Naperville, Illinois. He is retired and has worked in a variety of areas including computer programming and network administration.

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8 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    Lee – the first poem was very touching. I had a cousin and a great-nephew (only 8) who had cancer and lost their battles. It definitely gave me a greater appreciation for, as you say, the simple things.

    • Lee Goldberg

      Each day I take a few moments to pause, look up, and say “Thank you!” Especially now that I am an oldie! And after a good peanut butter sandwich!


  2. Paul Freeman

    What amazes me Lee, is that the two poems have exactly the same rhyme scheme and meter, yet the tone and content are chalk and cheese.

    I did prefer the second poem, but I’m a sucker for light verse.

    Thanks for the thoughtful and the hilarious, side by side.

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Lee, I like these poems. I like the first poem for your hope when your friend’s is waning… for the fresh insight into the sheer wonder of life after one has stared death in the face. And, I love the second one for mocking the Grim Reaper to such an extent, he becomes a figure of fun instead of fear. Wonderful!

    • Lee Goldberg

      I am so glad that you enjoyed the poems! Don’t know how much longer I can keep mocking Mr. Grim…..he’s gaining on me.

  4. Lee Goldberg

    Each day I take a few moments to pause, look up, and say “Thank you!” Especially now that I am an oldie! And after a good peanut butter sandwich!


  5. Margaret Coats

    Two capable poems for that friend, whom I hope is on the road to recovery. The second poem is a good, light-hearted treatment of the second option, from the agnostic point of view–which doesn’t deal with all approaches, yet cleverly nods to both heaven and hell in the final pair of stanzas.

    In stanza 6 of “Should We Leave,” there is a singular “forlorn lover,” and in stanza 7 a singular “someone blown to bits.” Let me suggest that the first “meets an end he did not seek,” as this individual is not a plural “they.” Just to insure fair and equal treatment for the sexes, as well as for English grammar, the second individual could be “separated from her tits.”


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