There’s a standard scene in old movies I think
Where the father comes home and winds down with a drink
What struck and sticks with me of actions by far
Was the way he concocted his drink in a jar.
It wasn’t the contents he put all together
Or even his mood change to light as a feather
Though partly the ice cubes he added to juice
What stood our the most was his shaking vermouth.
The vigor of shaking was quite a performance
The noise of the ice hitting metal enormous
And when he was done it was poured in a glass
To be sipped through the evening to make it all last.
Experience of cancer is much like that cube
As it tumbled and whirled back and forth in a tube
For when hitting one end with force and a smack
Direction reverses and ice cube’s whirled back.
For weeks now I’ve splattered against a firm stop
Of negative aspects of life cancer’s brought
Now all of a sudden direction’s reversed
I’m slammed against goodness quite all unrehearsed.
I thought it was only the bad stuff that hurt –
A slam into darkness, or misery at work,
But slams back and forth have shown me a new way
That good can be hurtful, despite what they say.
The change of direction is also a part
As Cancer’s swift swings cause a wrenching of heart
Like grinding transmissions when kids drive too fast
Then slam to reverse thinking it’s a real blast.
I think that adjustment to health will take time
As shifting to illness took over my mind
The effect of shaking the ice with vermouth –
To enfold the spirit and cool down the juice.