It Will Not Conquer Me: A Poem

Written by Andrew Singer

June 8, 2020

Author Note: These words were written in late 2018 and early 2019 as the handscroll of life was unrolled further to pass from one chapter to the next. As is true with scrolls, so is true with life, what is to come is a turn away. This is a Chinese-Indonesian immigrant tale of exploration, dedication, and a reminder to always live life.

***

Metastatic breast cancer,

Fight or wilt, which shall it be?

Stage three, lymph nodes, mastectomy,

I will fight.

 

It will not conquer me.

 

I have several names, but call me 芳芳,

An immigrant to America’s shores,

To lead the life I will forge,

Convention is not my way.

 

Yearning, learning, it is in my blood, you see,

This relentless drive means to be free,

A quarter century now has past,

Then glacial shock, a gut punch, mad.

 

It will not conquer me.

 

Toxic chemicals flood my veins,

Shatter my harmony,

They work and then not,

This part, that part, my body wails in grief.

Look at the Sky,

Feel the warm Breeze,

The sunlight upon my Face,

I shiver deep, but still I be.

 

It will not conquer me.

 

I shape two lads into young adults,

I recharge with them daily on the couch,

Grounded, global, good men they are,

Our life is normal, I am no slouch.

 

Teach others to hold languages dear,

Build a house, a life, a new career,

Yet when quiet I cannot help but think,

When will it all disappear?

 

It will not conquer me.

 

Fresh figs from a tree deep in Provence,

Asian pears hang heavy down New England way,

Durian mochi ice cream on Salisbury Road,

Chocolate bits in raspberries by a Cape Cod mom.

 

Ah, the glories of the Kedu Plain,

Climb high amidst the Malino hills,

A secret garden in Bohemia’s core,

Fine marionettes adjacent to a bridge of yore.

 

It will not conquer me.

 

Healthy persona am I, I do look fine,

Do not treat me differently,

I loathe pity, that unease,

I am me, not the disease.

 

No tears,

No, not my style,

Embrace the challenge,

Control my fate.

 

It will not conquer me.

Sailing, sweeping, ping pong bounce,

A culinary master, alone in memory,

Oh yes, I am grateful,

For the years that I have had.

 

The music of the night will always call,

While McGarrett and Danno save us all,

Polly’s and Stash remain in my heart,

But it will be from the ground that I will neer depart.

 

It will not conquer me.

 

Now alas, the fighter sits in bed,

Spirited eyes grown weary,

Yet whisper still with delicate strength,

To Hospice gentle prodding.

I am not afraid, bring it on,

I trust completely that my family will be strong,

I regret missing my boys’ futures,

I am loved by all.

 

It will not conquer me.

 

Yearning, learning, it is in my blood, you see,

This relentless drive means to be free.

Fierce determination and conviction carry me along,

I do not accept kuckahooey from anyone.

Eleven Years,

Now, yes, here they come,

Bittersweet tears,

I have lived a good life.

 

It did not conquer me.

One thought on “It Will Not Conquer Me: A Poem

  1. Pingback: It Will Not Conquer Me: A Poem | Story Lighthouse

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