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Second chances: Give it a try

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Second Chances.JPGBy Janet Ruffin

Janet Hull Ruffin is an artist, arts educator and poet. She is finishing a book of poems showing what it's like to work with critically ill children in a major cancer center. She focuses on hospital culture, the therapeutic nature of art and spirituality.

She retired from MD Anderson in January 2009 after serving as the art teacher in the Children's Cancer Hospital for more than 10 years. Her position was special because the time she spent with patients and their families was not about diagnoses, examinations or treatments. They made art together. Currently, she volunteers with the Children's Art Project working with pediatric patients.


Working in a cancer hospital taught me to periodically look at my priorities and regrets. What will I regret not having done if I die in the next moment? Recently, I read a poem that a friend of mine had posted on her blog, http://paint-paper-pencils-collageart.blogspot.com.

Second Chances
    By Lisa Hughes

I wanted

to eat wild strawberries
on a blanket
under the eiffel tower
in Paris

So I

ate blackberries
on a tablecloth
under an oil rig
in Conroe

I wanted

to taste snowflakes
in the Alps
on a mountain
in Switzerland

So I

ate a snowcone
on the Matterhorn
at Disneyworld
in Florida

I wanted

to feel the ocean
against my bare
skin in
deep water

So I

took off my
clothes and
climbed in
a blue washtub


When my husband died, I felt very complete in that there was nothing left unsaid between us. My regret is that we spent so much time arguing politics, mainly at the breakfast table. Lisa's poem enchanted me and I decided to give it a try with my regret.

I wanted

to reclaim the time
spent in our breakfast
nook arguing who was
right, who was wrong

So I

taste my morning bagel
see light filtered through
glass and green
listen

Keeping within Lisa's line structure, write your own Second Chance poem.

Read more posts by Janet Ruffin

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