Close the door when you leave

My first exposure to the Livestrong foundation was in 2004, when it was the LAF, shortly after my first diagnosis.  They sent me out a pack and in it was a bookmark that I am looking at right now.  It’s not just any bookmark it has a poem on it called “Close the door when you leave” and it is written by Michael Hayes Samuelson , it is one of the most beautiful and powerful pieces of prose about living and fighting Cancer.

Much has changed for me in that intervening decade, Cancer twice more for a start, but two things have remained the same:  The foundation is still there enhancing the quality of life for those living with, through and beyond cancer and the words of this poem still move me in a visceral way.

I have taken the liberty of copying it below as I haven’t seen it in the world for a long time other than on my desk and I hope it helps and resonates with you:

I never asked you to visit

…. at least I don’t believe I did

Maybe … I don’t know

It’s so confusing

At any rate, you’re a rude guest

You take my energy,

rob my sleep, and with a stick

You swirl and distort my dreams

All right, You are here … for now

But understand

There are two places

that are forever off limits

You may not tread on my spirit

You may not occupy my soul

I have heard of your visits to others

I know the damage you leave in your path

The wanton disregard for innocence,

value, and what some

would call fairness

Also, I hear that laughter

confuses you;

that good food makes you feel bad, and

That nothing causes you more distress

than an autumn sunset,

the forever blue of a summer sky,

Or the unconditional radiance

of a child’s smile

Listen and understand

You might pilfer my closets,

empty all the drawers,

and trash my house

But there are two places

forever off limits

You may not tread on my spirit

You may not occupy my soul

Do not mistake my nausea, weakness

and pain as signs of your victory

They are simply small dents

in the armour I wear to fight you

Instead, look deeply into my eyes

They will once again remind you

that there are two places

forever off limits

You must not …

May not …

Will not tread on my spirit

You must not …

May not …

Will not occupy my soul

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mskiasway says:

    Very powerful and True. Love it.

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