So, three weeks ago, on the Summer Solstice (called grianstad in the Gaelic) I accepted a lift (thank you again, Helen Wright) to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness; lay quite still under backlit photographs of Quercus and Tilia (Oak and Linden trees), while emitting gamma rays from radioactive dye that was coursing about my lymphatic system until peed out blueishly the next day; talked to perimeter trees, a veritable Ogham set of species; and stayed overnight in a guest room ‘Jura’ overlooking a courtyard garden, like “the shrine without a roof” of my matronhood.

The bee-loud glade I enjoyed from my overnight accommodation before surgery, June 2022.

To meet the quadrille challenge #155 offered by Merril at dVerse Poets’ Pub, I have included the given word “celebrated” in a poem exactly 44 words in length, to celebrate emerging safely from deep anaesthesia and sharp surgery, and progressive healing since then, not only of my tidy scar but of some longer-term psychological wounds from family cancer deaths.

I have been self-caring for the focused enwholing of these, in the online company of my niece Alice Percival Jones and – side by side – with my childhood friend Gilly Morgan who visited recently. Also I’m feeling garlanded around with well-wishing and prayers from a veritable hammocky network of comfort, stretching from the Shetland Isles and Sweden to South Island, New Zealand; from California to Jerusalem and Japan.

Here’s the quadrille poem, which is about my recent positive experience of cancer treatment by surgery. It refers to the footwashing I received from Rocket, the adolescent dog of my friends Dorota and Terry. The title might refer to dancing with death or, more delightfully, to the four (so far) online movement meditation classes that I have enjoyed, gently, during my convalescence.

What comes next? I shall find out the treatment options when my surgeon phones me later this week.


celebrated in circumferences,
great Oaks gifting catkins on
the breath of the breeze;
embraced by a medicinal sleep, was slit by
Jedi light saber, emerging OneBoob
to laugh with nurses about my neuroses
arriving home to wrap myself
in the tongue of puppy caresses.

© Kathy Labrum McVittie 11 July 2022 All rights reserved