Poem on a pill highlights cancer fight

Poem on a pill highlights cancer fight
Specialist artist Graham Short engraving the poem on a 20mm long and 10mm wide replica anti-cancer pill. Pictures: John Angerson/ICR/PA

A poet has written a poem on a pill to highlight the fight against cancer.

The 51-word verse has been micro-engraved on a replica tablet just 20mm (0.8in) wide.

Britain’s poet laureate Simon Armitage wrote the piece to symbolically show the precise science being brought to bear in the fight against cancer.

The words of the poem, which was commissioned by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), were expertly etched on to the tiny replica pill by artist Graham Short.

“Science and poetry are closer associates than many people assume, and it was exciting to work on a project that deals with cutting-edge medical research.

“And, like science, poetry is a ‘what if’ activity, imagining outcomes and possibilities-based creative thinking,” Mr Armitage said.

I liked the sense that poem and pill might collaborate to produce both a medical and emotional cure, and that something so minimalist could aim to bring down something so enormous and destructive.

The poem, titled Finishing It, reads: “I can’t configure/a tablet/chiselled by God’s finger/or forge/a scrawled prescription,/but here’s an inscription, formed/on the small white dot/of its own/full stop,/the sugared pill/of a poem, one sentence/that speaks ill/of illness itself, bullet/with cancer’s name/carved brazenly on it.”

The poem about cancer research written on a 20mm long and 10mm wide replica anti-cancer pill by British poet laureate Simon Armitage and engraved by specialist artist Graham Short.
The poem about cancer research written on a 20mm long and 10mm wide replica anti-cancer pill by British poet laureate Simon Armitage and engraved by specialist artist Graham Short.

The finished work will be displayed permanently at the Centre For Cancer Drug Discovery in London, aimed at researching drugs to effectively battle the disease, when it opens next year.

Paul Workman, of The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Simon Armitage’s poem engraved on a pill perfectly conveys the exquisite precision of the work the ICR’s scientists will be conducting in our new Centre For Cancer Drug Discovery.

Our researchers are focusing on understanding, predicting and blocking the evolution of cancer, aiming to stay one step ahead of the disease using precision medicine and drug combinations, so that we can achieve long-term survival and cure.

The ICR is seeking to raise £14m (€15m) to complete the centre where the poetic pill will be housed.

The Centre For Cancer Drug Discovery will focus on tackling adaptive resistance to anti-cancer medication.

More on this topic

Immunotherapy drug boosts lung cancer survival – studyImmunotherapy drug boosts lung cancer survival – study

Tipperary firm ups the fight against cancerTipperary firm ups the fight against cancer

Friends plead for financial support for funeral of cancer awareness advocate Tina PottsFriends plead for financial support for funeral of cancer awareness advocate Tina Potts

Cervical cancer patients under stress ‘face higher risk of death’: Swedish studyCervical cancer patients under stress ‘face higher risk of death’: Swedish study


More in this Section

Man arrested in connection with Dublin drugs and gun find releasedMan arrested in connection with Dublin drugs and gun find released

Man reported stuck in mud ran off in his underpants as emergency services reached sceneMan reported stuck in mud ran off in his underpants as emergency services reached scene

Poll: Fianna Fáil sees surge in support following Taoiseach's election announcementPoll: Fianna Fáil sees surge in support following Taoiseach's election announcement

Hundreds of people attend People’s Vote rally in BelfastHundreds of people attend People’s Vote rally in Belfast


Lifestyle

The evening may have gotten off to a slow start, but velvet-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter Feist’s performance at Cork Opera House on Saturday night was worth waiting for.Velvet-voiced Feist worth the wait

More From The Irish Examiner