On the 7th January 2015, during my second chemo session, I listened to Mark Fowler’s piano arrangement of The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer’s music score for the Batman film) through my earphones on repeat as I realised the music perfectly embodies the physical and spiritual struggle of the tough nights that follow each chemo session. Sitting there with the chemo drip in my hand and the music in my ears, I was inspired and wrote the poem below: “Rise from the Darkened Night”.
Rise from the Darkened Night
Wiping cobwebs from my face,
letting them go, to float away.
They twirl and dance, free to be with the wind –
Sparkling beads of lace.
My shadow turns away and walks
towards the darkness of the night.
I too follow, holding up my heart,
the lantern of our light.
Entering this poisonous land,
we push through against the stormy winds,
my eyes shielded by punctured hands.
I see shrivelled leaves and bald trees,
drinking from rivers of red.
I bend down to drink with them –
all our cupped hands have bled.
Together we roar against the howling wind,
to cross the forest of beating hearts.
Leaning against the pounding trees,
we bless their tired souls, step not on their crispy leaves.
At the edge of shadows,
caped dragonflies drawn to the flickering lanterns of lights, whisper:
Don’t sigh, don’t groan.
Don’t be left behind, to be left alone.
Walk tall behind your shield.
Pain tears open your soul –
to make it grow”.
Sorrowfully, they ask – why do we fall?
“To rise. To rise from the cocoon of ashes.
Bat your butterfly wings and take flight, towards the light,
towards the echoes of sound”.
We look up and rise.
Like bats we fly –
out of the darkened night.
Eimear Coghlan 7/01/2015
The beautiful music that inspired my poem “Rise from the Darkened Night” has the highs and the lows and more importantly the feeling of rising up through it all, stronger than before. I became obsessed with listening to this throughout the second chemo treatment, the music really entranced me. It became my chemo soundtrack.
Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight Rises: performed and arranged on the piano by Mark Fowler:
On the 19th December 2014, three days after my first session of chemotherapy, I recorded this video of me playing Mark Fowler’s piano arrangement of Game of Thrones (GOT) Main Theme. I knew it would not be long before my hair starts to fall out so I wanted to mark the beginning of this journey with a musical gesture. The famous GOT saying “Winter is coming” was even more poignant to me; I know there will be a tough 6 months ahead of me but I’m determined it will not knock the music out of my soul.
Composed by Ramin Djawadi, Arranged by Mark Fowler.
To celebrate 4 out of 5 weeks of Radiotherapy complete, I recorded myself playing Beethoven “Pathetique” 3rd Movement. Don’t let cancer knock the music out of your soul!
I love dressing up and throwing themed parties. For October 2012, I gave my nephew and nieces a Halloween Party to remember! I became Zelda, a Fortune Teller with a twist…
2 Comments Add yours
Hi Emer, you are a truly inspirational woman & a talented musician. My mother is currently having chemotherapy for recurrent breast cancer. You remind me of her with your amazingly strong faith, charisma & positive spirit. I hope and pray all goes well for you during the coming months. You have certainly inspired many women on the same journey. Xo
Gail quigley, Derry, N. Ireland.
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