Home>About Ta-Kuan> Poems written by Ta-Kuan
Poems written by Ta-Kuan
Prologue Poem
Cancer is the devil with a thousand faces,
doctors and nurses are all-powerful masters;
using chemotherapy to be tough assassins,
using radiotherapy to be little devils,
using surgery to be vampires.
Dad is Mr. Encouraging,
Mum is Miss Consoling,
Little Brother is Joking Clown,
teachers, relatives, friends, and loving-hearted religious people are cheerleaders.
I am Super Mario,
take the love of omnipotence, encouragement, consolation, joking, cheering to become the great love and the great wish;
1st wish is to invent a ‘solar energy cancer-destroying accelerator’ attacking Cancer Devil anytime.
2nd wish is to call out everyone on Earth to unite and declare total war against Cancer Devil.
3rd wish if only there were more scientists, clinical professionals, physicians and hospitals.
4th wish is to encourage all cancer patients and families to have strength and the firmest wills.
5th wish is to respectfully request all the people on Earth to cherish health, life’s dignity and family happiness.

May 15th, 1996,
The first time, Mum and Dad helped me into the operating room;
Little Brother Anxiety was a neighbour,
Little Sister Calm was also a neighbour,
I chose Little Sister Calm.
June 6th, 1996,
The second time, Mum and Dad held me into the operating room;
Aunt Fear was a neighbour,
Uncle Firmness was a neighbour too,
I chose Uncle Firmness.
January 25th, 1997,
The third time , Mum and Dad carried me on their backs into the operating room;
Mr. Death was a neighbour,
Miss Survival was also a neighbour,
I chose Miss Survival, the beautiful Sister.

Go On Living
Doctor is the judge,
sentencing to life imprisonment,
but I am a patient not a criminal,
I want to bravely walk out.

Doctor is the judge, 
sentencing to death,
but I am a patient not a criminal,
I want to bravely go on living.

9th Birthday
Until now,
I never fought with anyone for anything,
because nothing was worth fighting for.
I want to fight with Cancer Devil:
fight for the health of my body,
fight for the privilege of surviving,
because I am only 9 years old,
because I still have many more "9-years".

Needle Tracks
There remains:
the syringes from the 1st hospital visit,
mixed memories,
fever; whole body sweating,
chill; entire body trembling.
Blood in, blood out,
blood out, blood in.
my whole body scarred,
Mother’s warm hands holding,
Father’s firm hands caressing,
little brother’s naughty hands touching,
my brave tears dropping.

Plant A Tree
Since that Spring when my right leg grew a tumour,
We planted a tree every day;
in hospitals we planted trees of health,
in churches we planted trees of love,
in schools we planted trees of hope.
One day,
We will also plant ourselves as a tree,
generations planting on and on ….
will grow and become forests of health,
will grow and become forests of love,
will grow and become forests of hope.

Lonely Hospital Room
In a hospital, in the depths of the mountains,
there is a very small cancer room,
a child,
hoping desperately:
my illness quickly be healed,
quickly leave,
go home, go to school,
play the violin,
with everyone together,
everying would then be fine.

I would like to go back;
I want to play the violin,
I want to teach Cancer Devil to play the violin too.
Children who learn the violin won’t become bad,
so the devil who learns the violin will become good too.

While ill,
hope is a little scrap of a diagnosis
life, in here,
death, also in here,
Uncle Doctor is just a doctor
can only heal “life”,
can not heal "death".

Hwa Tuo and Nightingale*
How many tears can a pair of eyes drop?
How much can a mouth vomit?
Why does all black hair fall out overnight?
The answer is at:
The Children Cancer Ward of Taiwan University Hospial,
a modern Uncle Doctor Hwa Tuo* will tell you,
a Chinese Aunt Nurse Nightingale will also tell you.
Busy with meetings and surgeries every day?
Busy with injections and changing dressings all the time?
Busy with patients coming and going every moment?
The answer is at:
The Children Cancer Ward at Taiwan University Hospital,
a modern Uncle Doctor Hwa Tuo will tell you,
a Chinese Aunt Nurse Nightingale will also tell you.

* Hwa Tuo was a Han Dynasty doctor, the first to use surgery. 
He is said to have been able to cure any illneses.
Nightingale is Florence Nightingale.

Elderly people come often,
young people come often too,
children also come.
Take medicine, get a shot,
get a shot, take medicine,
ants haven't come,
turtles haven't come either,
giraffes definiely haven't come. 
I don't want to come often. 
Little Brother doesn't want to come often either,
Mum and Dad definitely don't want to come often.
Diagnose, examine,
examine, diagrnose,
sparrows haven't come,
egrets haven't come either,
owls definitely haven't come.

In the hospital's microphone,
patients indulge in their only noise
it's just '95','95'
'save me', 'save me', 'save me'…
Elderly friends act this way.
Young friends act also this way.
How I wish every single star in the sky,
could all strain to shine,
and illuminate every patient's hopes.

* In Mandarin Chinese, '95', 'jyu wu',
sounds much like, 'save me', 'jyo wu'.

Emergency Room
Emergency Room likes to make friends,
no matter day or night,
no matter a sunny day or a rainy day,
no matter an ordinary day or a holiday. 
365 days a year,
it always passionately offers both hands;
but everyone hides their hands.

Outside the Window

Outside the cancer room windows,
blue sky,
sun high,
I so want to go out,
Aunt nurse won't allow,
Uncle doctor won't allow.
Outside the cancer room window,
stars twinkle,
moonlight glows,
I so want to go out,
Aunt I.V.* cuffs,
Uncle Oxygen Tent covers.
*An abbreviation for 'intravenous drip'

Cancer Doctor
The day before yesterday, someone said good-bye to the world because of leukaemia;
yesterday, someone departed because of lymph cancer;
today, someone stopped breathing because of kidney cancer.
Life's steps take a rest,
the doctor stamps his feet.
Uncle doctor,
why are you so angry?
Angry over and over again,
will only add grey hair,
will again increase its arrogance;
my father is often angry because of this,
don't be surprised by grey hair overnight.

5,000 white blood cells,
150,000 platelets,
12 red blood cells,
Uncle Doctor is a fortune-teller,
considering again and again,
stating firmly,
everything normal,
safe and healthy!

Voice of Heart
The hospital is a prison,
Mum and Dad are prisoners,
I am handcuffs,
fear is our voice.
Where handcuffs are,
prisoners are;
where I am,
Mum and Dad are;
desperately hoping:
the hospital is not a prison,
nor is it our home for ever.

Tell me!
What is your real height?
Sometimes high, sometimes low,
sometimes low, sometimes high,
over 38℃ ,
Dad shakes his head;
below 36℃,
Mum also feels bad.

Chemotherapy is a tough assassin,
piercing every corner of my body,
Dad is Mr. Encouraging,
accompanying me into the battle.
Radiotherapy is a little devil,
attacking every vital spot of my body,
Mum is Miss Consoling,
overcoming together the hard times.

Tonight is the 7th Night*,
the sky is a beautiful chapel.
The Cowherd** puts on an prosthetic leg and walks out,
the Spinster, sitting on a wheelchair, welcomes him;
the mischievous cancer cloud,
can never stop their date.

*The seventh night of the seventh moon – Chinese Valentine's Day evening. 
**The Cowherd and the spinster, according to Chinese folklore, meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month over a bridge formed by sympathetic magpies.

Glad Tidings 
Dad is in the cancer room,
every day protecting me until dawn,
telling me good news.
Science, the heaven’s soldier,
New Medicine, the angel,
descend together!
Wow! The night sky shines,
to tell the whole world the glad tidings.

Wedding of the Century
Science, the heaven’s soldier, a great matchmaker,
the human angel, the notary public.
When the New Medicine Bride, wearing a white wedding dress, walks out,
Cancer Groom wearing a blue suit, welcomes her;
enemies become in-laws,
in-laws become family, 
The world's greatest wedding.

Don't Cry 
In front of family,
I dare not cry;
In front of medical people,
I can not cry;
In front of Cancer Devil,
I need not cry;
if I just weep and sniffle …
Cancer Devil will howl with laughter …

Bitter Pain
Against the current of the cancer ocean,
With the blood floating into my heart,
I know,
I feel:
unwilling to take medicine or get shots,
unwilling to get chemotherapy or radiotherapy,
unwilling to take tests or surgery,
but I don't know why I can't say so; 
but I don't know why I can't say so.

Cancer Devil Don't Be Proud
Cancer Devil is so proud,
in my body's every corner,
shouting loudly, yelling out,
I scream at Cancer Devil back:
Who fears you!
Don't be proud!
Soon you’ll beg for mercy!
I have Mum and Dad, nurses, doctors and faith backing me;
I also have:
Radiotherapy nuclear bombs,
chemotherapy missiles,
surgery guns.
Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, faith 
together rush forward,
Cancer Devil goes 'bye-bye'.

Cancer War
Today, there is only one war:
Cancer War.
Forwards, backwards,
left and right,
cancer, cancer, everywhere.
please, nuclear weapons no more,
please, missiles no more,
please, fighter planes no more,
please, battle ships no more,
need more scientists only,
need more clinical professionals only,
need more loving-hearted religious people only,
need more strong brave cancer patients only.
Tomorrow, the war will be over;
then, the world at peace.

Doctor is the judge
sentencing Cancer Cells to a million deaths,
but the Cancer Cell says:
"I, in self defence, kill people."

Tug of War
Cancer Devil says to children: 
"Good, I win;
Evil, I lose."
Children say to Cancer Devil:
"Evil, you die;
Good, I live."

Tumour is the Bull Demon king* of life,
Uncle Doctor is the Buddha of life,
Alas Bull Demon King! Alas Bull Demon King!
Though you may have the powers of Monkey King**,
still you cannot escape Buddha’s palm.
Tumour is the Judas the Betrayer of life,
I am the Jehovah of life,
Alas Judas! Alas Judas!
I can create you with one hand,
destroy you with another.
*Bull Demon King is the role in Chinese mythology.
**Monkey King is the role in Chinese mythology …(palm story)…

Cancer Has 1000 Eyes
Cancer Devil's dark night,
has 1,000 eyes;
human beings' day has only one sun,
which brightens the whole world.

The wound of a child with an amputated leg,
is cultivated land under a happy-rain*,
the shovelling of soil induces pain again and again;
the hope of a child with an amputated leg;
is outside the window of the hospital room,
spring wind and soft rain again and again;
I so want to go out,
I so want to go out,
I so want to go out,
while speaking,
a young bud sprouts, one more, one more.
*First rain after a drought.

Amputated Leg 
Cancer Devil is mankind’s enemy,
invading my right leg.
Chemotherapy attacks but can not conquer,
radiotherapy assaults but does not succeed,
Doctor wants to sever.
The enemy groups together approaching,
the enemy wending its way,
cells dividing rapidly,
astronomically intense throbbing pain,
Mum and Dad had no choice but to sever.
Mum and Dad hand me to the doctor,
the doctor hands me to the medical technician,
I hand fate to God.

I Still Have One Leg 
Beethoven, two deaf ears,
Jeng Lung Sheei,* two blind eyes,
I still have one leg,
I want to stand on the Earth.
Helen Keller, two blind eyes,
Jeng Feng Syi,** two disabled legs,
I still have one leg,
I want to walk all over the beautiful world.
*A visually impaired Taiwanese congressperson.
**One of the 'Best Ten Youths of the Year'.

My lunchbox in the hospital;
is Mum's love …
Inside love, there is fish, meat and vegetables,
even a fortune could not buy it.
How I hope:
all children,
all can have Mum's lunchboxes.

New Clothes
Put human clothes on a bull,
then he can not work in the fields;
put medicine's new clothes on cancer,
then it can not make trouble in the cells.

River Child says to Sea Mother:
"Thank you for always tolerating me."
Sea Mother says to River Child:
"You are always welcome to come home."
Cancer Child says to Uncle Doctor:
"Thank you for your loving heart,
for keeping me here and treating me.
Uncle Doctor says to Cancer Child :
"Please walk out bravely."

“Who sends the gift of death to 
the human world?”
"It's me," Cancer Devil says;
"Who gives back life to the Earth?"
"It's me," Spring says.

Sleight of Hand
Cousin came to the hospital room to perform sleight of hand:
money disappeared,
handkerchiefs appeared,
cut ropes whole again.
I also want 
to make my cut leg whole again,
to make Cancer Devil disappear.

New Year
Every New Year is not the same,
last year we celebrated the New Year in South and Central America,
but this year we got together in Taiwanese University Hospital;
what about next year?
I wonder where Mum and Dad will take me for the New Year ?

No matter winds or rain,
Once a week,
Mum and Dad push me out of the Taiwanese University Hospital cancer room,
push me into the 228 Peace Park* to feed the sparrows;
sparrows though small,
do not fear blowing winds or soaking rains.
Strong winds and violent rains can soak their clothes,
but not their hope for survival.
Neither do they fear lightning or thunder,
even the threat of cancer;
will not weigh on their hearts.

We are the cancer fighting chorus!
Uncle Doctor conducts,
Aunt Nurse accompanies,
Mum, Dad , Little Brother and I,
together sing a lullaby of life,
Australian koalas fell asleep,
Chinese pandas also fell asleep.
even Taiwanese macacos fell asleep,
believing Cancer Devil will also fall asleep.