A Book of Inspiration

My poem Even Now was given to a fundraiser for breast cancer research and services.    I had no idea at the time that this small act of charity would give me back so much.

‘a pocketful of sequins’ was produced and published by Moonstone Media run by Joanne Fedler, writer and writing tutor.  After reading my poems Joanne encouraged me to apply for a residency at Hedgebrook, a women writers retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington.  I read Hedgebrook’s website into the night –  I wanted to go; too much.   I didn’t think I stood a chance. http://www.hedgebrook.org

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38 and became an active volunteer post treatment.  Years later, after ‘a pocketful of sequins’ was published I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  A surgeon suggested that it was the result of the radiotherapy I’d received as treatment for breast cancer.  Thyroid cancer treatment meant that I was radioactive and quarantined from the world for two weeks.

All alone I decided to prepare a submission to Hedgebrook.  I sent in two essays and ten pages of poetry.  When they offered me a cottage for six weeks, in 48 acres of woodland, orchard and organic gardens, fully catered free of charge, I was overwhelmed.  That acknowledgement and generosity healed me within even as my cancer was pronounced incurable.  The cancer is in my lungs.

When I returned from Hedgebrook I started growing fruit trees; they are now my lungs.  The story of my journey to Hedgebrook was told in a show called Stories East and West along with five other storytellers.  A film was made of my storytelling and was selected for screening at Sydney Fringe Festival.  I was invited to be a special guest poet of the month by Live Poets Society and just last year, my urban orchard was featured on national television in ABCTV’s programme, Gardening Australia.

In ‘a pocketful of sequins’ I said that “I tread on this earth as lightly as I can to make the least impact – I hope that when I’m gone, people I know will only miss me as much as a warm evening breeze that once caressed their faces”.  My poem Even Now is below but please consider purchasing the book – you never know what it might do for you.

‘a pocketful of sequins’ is available from Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Hedgebrook:   http://www.hedgebrook.org

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm  – a video (4:33) on part of my urban orchard


Even the moon wanes

Even the sun sets

Stars ceased to glow

Long ago

Tides recede and

Mountains slide into seas

Blossoms that scent the night

Shroud the earth by dawn

And the heat of fierce embrace

Fades in the glare of day

Yet birds go berserk every morning

Breaking their breasts with song

As mourning mists drift away

And the sun rises

Again and again

And again

(c) Mary Tang 2015

About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
This entry was posted in Memoir, Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Book of Inspiration

  1. taphian says:

    I just found this post now, dear Mary. It is very moving. All the best to you, kind regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

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