Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Unknown Killer

The Unknown Killer:
Pulmonary Fibrosis

Robert A. Hall

It comes on us as silent as the night,
And steals a breath and then another breath,
Until it smothers out another life,
To claim a hundred lives with every day.

It still remains the killer hardly known,
That takes you softly by the throat at first,
And whence it comes no doctor yet can say,
Nor how to pry its grip from off your lungs.

And so we laugh and do the best we can
To live our lives as fully as we wish,
And hold them dearly even as they fade—
It makes the colors ever more intense.

We see the haunted looks of those we love,
And understand their helpless dread and fear,
If we are losing all, they’re losing us,
And there is naught that we or they can do.

But if our time is short, so is all life,
So still we take the gift of every dawn,
And each of us must thank the God we know,
For every breath and every day of life.

If we must cope with tanks and pills and cough,
And struggle for the very breath of life,
We want to leave our mark upon the hunt,
To kill this thing before it comes for you.

Permission granted to reprint this blank verse, iambic pentameter poem.

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