Claire Calman
'Think Pink' -
Breast Cancer Awareness

Background

Claire Calman was appointed to work with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to write poems to highlight the charity's 'Think Pink' campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October 1998. Claire's ability to write witty, bittersweet and accessible work made her an ideal choice for this complex subject. At the conclusion, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Co-ordinator Maxine Cole wrote to The Poetry Society: 'I'm sure that you will be pleased to know that Claire's poems inspired members of the general public to write their own poems, which I have been collecting in my office.'

Claire Calman's poetry has been performed on Radio 4, for Woman's Hour and a radio comedy series called Five Squeezy Pieces. Following are several poems she wrote for the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign:

 

 

Think pink

 

 

Think pink.

Don't blink-

er yourself

to the facts.

Think pink.

Don't think

it's OK

to be lax.

Think pink.

Don't shrink

from doing

your tests.

Think pink.

Stay in sync

with each inch

of your breasts.

 

 

 

 

A cancer cell speaks: 

 

Send no money now

Keep your cash,

Save your stash,

Don't be lavish

with your loot.

We have plans

For expans-

ion and are aching

to take root

In a mound

We have found -

A secret place that

feels just right.

Perfect, prime,

Now it's time

to seize this

undeveloped site.

So spend it,

Don't send it;

Neglected,

we will thrive.

Favour thrift,

Forget that gift.

Help a cancer cell

SURVIVE.

 

 

 

 

Four Things

 

 

Four things

where I would

rather not

find a lump:

custard

gravy

mashed potato

and bosoms.

 

 

 

 

In Memorium 

 

 

Here lies

the lump:

Cut off

in its prime;

Its early ambitions

to conquer new domains

never fulfilled;

Its plans for

cellular domination

discovered,

defeated

and laid to rest.

 

Goodbye, lump

and good riddance.

 

 

 

And the poem written for Radio 4 Woman's Hour:

 

 

Hands-on experience

 

 

It's best

to test

each breast

undressed.

 

I pressed

my breast

in bra and vest:

my quest

revealed

unwelcome

guest

- a lump?

 

No jest.

 

In south-west

quadrant,

I came to rest,

and there it was

- a bump.

Loathsome pest,

foul intruder

in the nest,

lurking hidden

in my chest.

But then,

distressed,

I pressed

my breast

again.

My mind's

at rest.

I leap

with zest:

It's but a rosebud

on my vest!

 

It's best

to test

each breast

- undressed.

 




 

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