She Was Being Treated for Cancer by Robin J. Arcus
December 12, 2022
She was being treated for cancer. Tests and probes and intrusive methods of diagnosis. She bore up and said to me, “Always carry a poem in your pocket and a hymn in your heart. You never know when you’ll be someplace disagreeable.”
When they put me into an MRI machine I promised myself not to open my eyes. Not a peek, not one flutter. I didn’t want—or need—to see my disagreeable confinement. My shut eyes opened a world, where poetry lives and scenery and songs.The eyes of my heart gazed upon the mountains, an eagle’s view from the plate glass window of the BRCC dining room. A melody entered my heart, a song of the wood. And the poem that I recited? Well, you will know the one.
I think that I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.