Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Tracker or Nature of the Beast

[Update 30/11/17: I have been living with hormone therapy for nearly seven years now as well as mobility problems since my fall. Believe me, it ain't easy. Even so, I get out and about as best I can and am still looking on the bright side of life. if only because the alternative is unthinkable. Besides, there are always people much worse off than ourselves. I have some good friends, my life and my blogs so count myself lucky.]

[Update 22/4/17: Following a bad fall in 2014, I was unable to do the Shine (Charity) walk again, but a friend did it for me  that year and we raised a tidy sum for Prostate Cancer Research UK. Earlier this month, I gave a sponsored poetry reading and, again, raised money on-line for Prostate Cancer UK via my JustGiving page. Hormone therapy continues to prevent my cancer becoming aggressive. More than six years on from being diagnosed, I remain a Happy Bunny...well, most of the time.]

To readers that email me now and then to ask how I am dealing with my prostate cancer, I can only say ‘so far, so good.’

Hormone therapy continues to keep the cancer from becoming aggressive. I feel fine, although I have to confess to being haunted by the fear that the cancer may well catch up with me one day. Even so, Fear and I are old adversaries that have the measure of, and more or less tolerate each other. Even so, we do fierce battle now and then whenever it ventures out from that shadowy corner of the mind to which I would prefer to have it confined.  Eventually, it admits defeat and slinks back into its corner, but not before having taunted body, mind and spirit to extremes.

I once confided fear of something (I can’t recall what, but does it matter?) to a teacher at my secondary school 50+ years ago who commented to the effect that to deny fear is to deny the inner self that makes us human.  ‘Deal with it, Taber, and get on with your life,’ he said. ‘It may not go away entirely, but that chances are it won’t bother you anywhere near as much again.’

Participating in the London Shine Walk for Cancer last year to raise money for prostate  cancer research left me with such a sense of achievement for being able to complete a half marathon even in my late 60s (in 5.5 hours, with pit stops) that Fear retreated back into its corner and has yet to raise its ugly head again. 

This poem is a kenning, sometimes called a ‘Who am I?’ poem.


I journey through life
with companions I would leave
but for clammy fingers
clutching at my sleeve and voices
I would prefer to ignore
demanding my attention, pity,
moral support and more
than I am willing to give, yet
can but do my best

I arrive at crossroads
with companions I would leave
to their own devices
while knowing they would be lost
without me, no map
supplied to help them decide
which way to choose
other than human instinct set
to following its nose

I journey on, on, and on,
companions that would leave me
to my own devices
as obsessed with my keeping track
of the world’s injustices
as with lesser vices charging
a vulnerable mentality
to take responsibility for body,
mind and spirit

I am that fear of the unknown,
animal all but human

Copyright R. N. Taber 2014

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