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Category / Writing

Writing Prompts

Blog, Writing / December 4, 2014

In July, Lissa A. Forbes made an art bulletin board on the third floor outside BMT South including photos and writing prompts that she created in 2012 before her Leukemia diagnosis. Then she began to contribute monthly prompts to be posted on the board. Most people cannot face the blank page and just begin to write. It’s hard to get started, so by giving our patients a place to begin, they can then go in any direction. Each person will likely write something very different from another.


The prompts thus far are as follows:

  • July:  What is my most important habit?
  • August:  What makes you happy?
  • September: What do I wish for …?
  • October: Who inspires me? (family, friends, a celebrity)
  • November: What is my word? (choose a word to focus on and write what you feel about it, how it impacts you, etc)
  • December: What can I celebrate now? (look at small accomplishments or improvements)

Soon we will be embarking on a new year and will continue the prompts to help our patients heal.

Dirge without Music

Writing / May 30, 2013

The Colorado Blood Cancer Institute Memorial Service was held on May 16th in commemoration of the patients who passed away this year.

Kelly Rose, a Registered Nurse who works in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Read this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay at the ceremony.

Dirge without Music

Edna St. Vincent Millay


-I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.

So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:

Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned

With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

-Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.

Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.

A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,

A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

-The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,

They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled

Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.

More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

-Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave

Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;

Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.

I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Sunnyside by Mike Adams

Writing / February 27, 2013

BMT patient Mike Adams reads his poem titled Sunnyside about his dear friend Dolores. This poem and others can be found in his book Steel Valley.

Mike had a bone marrow transplant a year ago.  While in the hospital he participated in the healing arts program and would hold poetry readings for the staff. It was a healing experience for the staff and himself.

Mike was the featured poet at a book store in Evergreen, CO a few months after his transplant.

Dolores and I drive the winding blacktop that hugs Cement Creek, sunny May morning, coming down from Gladstone and the Sunnyside Mine – -all abandoned now —  back to Silverton. High above, the sun shines on the slopes of Storm Peak, but we’re at the bottom of the valley, running through a dark boreal forest of spruce and fir.  Dolores points out the grade of the old narrow-gauge railroad — built in the 1880s — that served the mine, closed since the early 1990s, last working silver mine in San Juan County, the rails pulled up years ago, stacked like rusted cordwood at the railroad station in town.  Signs of bygone mining days all around – falling down buildings, wood silvered with age, holes in the hillsides, slate-blue tailing ponds, and after a few moments of silence I say, those rails might have been made where I grew up, Homestead, Andrew Carnegie’s steel works.  Yes they were, Dolores says,  I saw Homestead stamped on the sides of the rails.  And then I see it, you never leave anything behind, you take it all with you, think you’ve left the old mill town, low green hills, the slow brown river, smoke and stink, but it’s all seeped into your pores and still with you right here beside the fast mountain stream and soaring peaks– the mills of Pennsylvania and mines of Colorado, all tangled together.  Carnegie built his mills, fed them with the blood and dreams of  men and women brought by the boatload from Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Greece, Russia to the hell and hope and struggle of America, a dollar a day, 12 hours, seven days a week, a hundred dollars to the widows when the men died in explosions, cave-ins, fell into vats of molten metal.  He fed it all to the furnaces and mines – ore, coal and men.  Crushed his workers with guns and thugs and mind-numbing labor, made his fortune and built a nation.  Then he gave it all away.

I learned to swim in the basement of the Carnegie Library in Homestead, fed my love of books there, gazed up in awe at the Tyrannosaurus skeleton in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, read there about the Rocky Mountains and dreamed.   Now, all these years later, I find a Carnegie Library in Silverton.

How we are shaped by land and water, the work of a lifetime, nothing ever lost, Cement Creek, the Monongahela River, everything carried along —

Silverton mines quiet, sinking
by slow stages back into the earth,
Homestead mills gone to weeds
and failing memory.

A dilapidated assay office,
beside it, a rusted ore cart –
filled with black soil
and raspberry bushes.