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When the doctor says it might be cancer
your world diminishes,
small things become important,
big plans swamped simply
by the need to stay alive
not swallowed up
by the ogre of the Big C.

You wait for results
despair and desperation fighting
through your feeble attempts at optimism.
'What ifs' become 'I really should haves'
and life takes on the mantle
of the missed opportunities,
of the roads never taken.

The threat almost becomes a promise
as hours seem like days
likely outcomes hurtling
around your beleaguered brain
until the phone rings and someone says:
'Hello, it's Dr Keith here'.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I appreciate moderate constructive criticism
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content
Opt-in: Neopoet AI will critique your poem.


The below is a computer-generated response from Neo, Neopoet's computer artificial intelligence:

The poem effectively uses imagery and metaphors to convey the intense emotions and anxieties associated with a potential cancer diagnosis. The phrase "ogre of the Big C" is particularly evocative and helps to personify the disease as a monstrous, looming threat.

However, the poem could benefit from more varied sentence structure and rhythm to enhance its emotional impact. For example, the line "despair and desperation fighting" is a bit abrupt and could be expanded into a more complex sentence to better capture the struggle the speaker is experiencing.

The poem's use of the present tense helps to create a sense of immediacy and urgency, but it might be interesting to experiment with shifting between past, present, and future tenses to reflect the speaker's fluctuating state of mind.

The ending of the poem is somewhat abrupt. While this may be intentional to reflect the suddenness of the phone call, it could be beneficial to add a few more lines to allow the reader to fully absorb the impact of the call and the emotions it provokes.

Lastly, the poem could benefit from more specific details to make the speaker's experience feel more personal and relatable. For example, instead of the generic "big plans," the poem could mention specific plans or dreams that the speaker had prior to the diagnosis.

Please send feedback about Neo (our computer generated critique system) to

Hello, Eleri,
I felt every word -- the anxiety and all the thoughts bouncing around in your mind. And I can feel the intensity of the sound of the phone ringing. I hope it brought better news.
Thank you,

Thanks for your kind thoughts - still undecided. More tests to follow so more poetry as well probably.

author comment

Sending positive thoughts your way...

Thank you so much

author comment
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