Poems will not stop cancer:

it cannot be locked in rhyme,

or chained by cynghanedd.


Cancer is bigger than poetic fancy,

tpo busy colonising your body,

planting its impudent flags,

claiming the landscape –  and distorting it,

raising up hills of hurt

where fields were flat before.


That wretch messes up maps,

drowning towns,

sowing forests

like mushrooms mid-motorway,

perverting the natural order.


No, poems will not stop cancer;

but when our circus of research comes to town,

with our fire-eaters and trapeze scientists,

pitching our big top throughout your body

we can re-map everything,

move mountains,

drain seas of pain.


Imagination is part of our power:

we are the poets of hope

belabouring cancer

with healing verse,

restoring order, extending life,

juggling treatment with new research.


Ifor ap Glyn
Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Poet of Wales

(Commissioned by Wales Cancer Research Center to note World Cancer Day 2021. English translation by Ifor ap Glyn.)

Back to Ifor ap Glyn: National Poet of Wales 2016 – 2022