That Disease – Darren J Beaney

he died on his terms

Many thanks to Darren J Beaney for his excellent offering. Darren is currently undertaking a Masters Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Brighton. A passionate poet, Darren’s work has appeared in anthologies such as ‘For The Silent’ which supports the work and aims of the League Against Cruel Sports. We are very thankful that Darren has decided to share his talents with us.

That disease

His last days were taxing, long black nights demanding. Living

a hopeless condition so brutally cruel,

wearing him down, rubbing him out. Consumed

by illness,


He didn’t suffer fools and refused to suffer the complaint,

in his way accepting the disease, carrying

its mass without grievance. Never a moan

or grumble,

just got on with it.

With the cancer

his final malady.

My lasting thoughts of him ail me. Bearing final witness

to a great man slowly passing, slipping away.

Barely able to smile at those gathered

around him.

But still strong enough to briefly squeeze trembling hands.

Still aware enough to hide the pain, the fear. Tough enough

to whisper haunting words of love and assurance.

Still proud enough to retain his stature

as head of the clan.

Concerned enough

to wear a brave face, masking sunken eyes, and hollow checks.

I remember he died on his terms, well the best

he could negotiate. His final act

of defiance, disobedience

toward that disease –

an audacious act in the face of death. The ultimate

show of strength and resolution! In his armchair.

With his forever faithful friend sleeping

by his sporadically tapping feet.

Holding up

a large scotch, in a clean glass, in his skeletal left hand.

Smoke from his last cigarette chasing the lazy

jazz notes that crowded the air. His children

cheering for him

as he danced away.

Darren J Beaney, Brighton

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

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