Cancer Cells

August 10, 2006 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Harold Pinter


“Cancer cells are those which have forgotten how
to die” – nurse, Royal Marsden hospital

They have forgotten how to die
And so extend their killing life.

I and my tumour dearly fight.
Let’s hope a double death is out.

I need to see my tumour dead
A tumour which forgets to die
But plans to murder me instead.

But I remember how to die
Though all my witnesses are dead.
But I remember what they said
Of tumours which would render them
As blind and dumb as they had been
Before the birth of that disease
Which brought the tumour into play.

The black cells will dry up and die
Or sing with joy and have their way.
They breed so quietly night and day,
You never know, they never say.

© Harold Pinter

A poem I found on the Guardian Unlimited Books website, yesterday. Pinter wrote this poem after being diagnosed with cancer (in 2002) [1].

Most of us know Pinter only in his playwright avatar. I was surprised to find out that he has been publishing poems [2] since 1950 (as Harold Pinta). oh well.


[1] Pinter’s reading of Cancer Cells. He has trained at both the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Central School of Speech and Drama, so you will be listening to a professionally-trained voice reading the poem. :)

[2] Falstaff’s review of Pinter’s poetry.

[3] And a bio.



Entry filed under: Black Mamba, English, Harold Pinter, Prose Writers.

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