CML Poems

Needles for Good

Needles, Needles, Needles

Thin pointed metal spears endured intermittently  

Are now part of daily consciousness 

As weekly encounters with needle and pillow bearing Phlebotomists

invite rolling up of sleeves to fulfil their mission to extract, collect, label 

and send bloods to the ‘Analyser’ machine.


Arm, hand, hip bandages and bruises, all

Reminders of the quick short sharp scratch 

That hours and days ago pierced veins 

To let deep red blood flow down thin capillary tubes

To fill purple, green and gold labelled tubes


Blood turns into data and numbers on a tracking spreadsheet  

To be scrutinised by blood doctors and specialist nurses

The main man responsible is frizzy haired, smiling Haematologist Hayder 

Currently in Birmingham England, originally from Dundee Scotland,

via Bournemouth and Newcastle who innocuously suggested 

A biopsy would provide the confirmation of the suspected condition. CML.


Big brutal needle into the hip bone marrow

Sucking blood out on to slides and red marrow into a transparent pot

All to the soundtrack of increasingly deep breathing of laughing gas from the cylinder ominously wheeled into place from the corner of the day clinic room.

Labelled with name and number they are despatched to the big analyser in the sky. Relax.


Thanks to GP Nurse Karen, Clinical Centre Gill, Mel and all the jab experts

That have pierced my body with needles to enable detection of random cell mutations 

That have occurred hidden deep in bone marrow unbeknown to anyone

Until now.

Thanks to blood doctor Jayne who after her night shift, 

Alerted by the sky-high white blood cell level of pre-op patient Turpie, 

Took the time to make the difficult, but calm and considered call 

To invite him to the Clinical Centre for Haematology, Pronto.


Its been another short sharp scratch ‘Bleed and Leave’ appointment

To be repeated regularly for leukaemia life. 


Audio Reading:

Biopsy results offered up by Haemotologist, montaged
with White Blood Cells and 22/9 Chromosome cause

August 2021.

Hands ON

Morning Eyes open to see the ceiling

Bladder and bowels intimate it is time to rise and face the day

Swivel to face the wall

Pivot on to the edge of the bed


No longer horizontal 

Back gets vertical, Feet find the floor

Hands on haunches, deep breath

Fists, clutching legs above the bony knees

Focus eyes on the floor

Push hard to be upstanding for the day ahead


Creak, UP, Creak, UP, yes, no, back twinge 

One foot in front of the other

Traverse, put weight through central spine,

Not either side putting pressure on the facet joints.


Moving, better than yesterday?

We shall see, as hands seek supports on the bathroom route.

Audio Reading:

Hands On

September 2021.

Socks ON

Cold hands, cold feet

The blood is having trouble getting to them.

Wrists, hands and fingers are kneaded to

force the redness though the veins 

to brighten the cold white tips


To bed one night

Forgetting to take the socks off

The sheets do not feel cold to the sock covered feet 

Leave them on, why not


The morning sensation is of warmth

Still warm when the duvet is thrown back

Socked feet touch the floor

Taken off to shower 

To wash away the dead skin-cells that are

Invisibly replenished, 20 to 30 thousand of them each day


Socks back on before being enclosed by shoes, or slippers.

Audio Reading:


Socks On

August 2021.