Ten years ago, Julia Darling died of cancer. She wrote in many different genres, but it is her collections ‘Apologies for Absence’ and ‘Sudden Collapses in Public Places’ which I go back to most often. Through this poetry she charted her life with cancer and also asked pertinent questions about illness/health and how we as individuals/professionals respond to both.
At our Lapidus (www.lapidus.org.uk) meeting on Saturday, Julia was amongst us like a benign ghost and so was her poetry, inspiring us to write about ourselves and our own approaches to wellness. I was pleased to discover some lines from Chemotherapy:
‘I’m not unhappy. I have learnt to drift
and sip. The smallest things are gifts.’
Another line from this poem prompted me to write the following, which I feel is perhaps an aspiration, perhaps a blessing:
I would wear myself more lightly;
my self –
a silk shawl,
imperfectly woven, yet
vibrant and warm.