Chemo Café


I would like to introduce you to a wonderful poet, Ms. Julia Dean-Richards. I have been following her poetry blog, aplaceforpoetry for some time now and wanted, out of my great admiration for her work, to highlight one of her poems, Chemo Café, an excerpt of which is below:

In this lively, loving place
anxiety etched on every face
my comfort is a cushioned chair
a pillow and designer hair.

I absolutely love this poem. I found the concept of treating a chemo therapy treatment center as a café as incredibly courageous and clearly coupled with a powerful, purposeful view of life and living. Julia has told me that the sessions are now long over and “there is nothing to worry about.” And while I am certain that her current health is the product of a professional and modern health system, I am equally certain that her health is also a product of her positive, committed view.

And incredible writing skills, of course!

My wife, Lyn, and I host a monthly interfaith devotional in our home. Everyone is encouraged to share a poem, story, prayer, idea, picture or image that encapsulates their understanding of the spiritual nature of the devotion’s theme. This past month the theme of the devotional was, “Into the Light.” I read Julia’s poem as my offering because I could think of no other poem that expressed such a wonderful sense of light and buoyancy.

While at Julia’s blog, please also check out Snailbeach Tails, her magical, illustrated book for everyone who loves stories.

Thank you for reading Chemo Café. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting both the Book of Pain and aplaceforpoetry. As always, I look forward to your comments as will Julia, I am sure, at her blog.


The comments are © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The excerpt from Chemo Café is © 2013 by Julia Dean-Richards and used with permission from the author; all rights reserved. Neither this excerpt from the poem or these comments that accompany it may be printed or distributed in any form whatsoever.


Filed under Poetry

5 responses to “Chemo Café

  1. Thank you John. Life has an amazing way of opening doors to love, when we are at our most vulnerable.

  2. Julia, you are very welcome. But it should be me that is thanking you for permission to share your work with my friends!

  3. Barbara C Minor

    Thanks John. People going through chemo teach me not to be so afraid..God is always there…as Julia teaches us…with a pillow and designer hair.

  4. Beautifully written. Chemo brings you right to the edge…. escaping the precipice seems insurmountable at times. Great post!