Cancer Cells

Cancer Cells

Cancer Cells is preceded by an epigraph, which is as follows: "Cancer cells are those which have forgotten how to die." A nurse at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

They have forgotten how to die
And so extend their killing life.

I and my tumour dearly fight,
Let's hope a double death is out.

I need to see my tumour dead
A tumour which forgets to die
But plans to murder me instead.

But I remember how to die
Though all my witnesses are dead.
But I remember what they said
Of tumours which would render them
As blind and dumb as they had been
Before the birth of that disease
Which brought the tumour into play.

The black cells will dry up and die
Or sing with joy and have their way.
They breed so quietly night and day,
You never know, they never say.


from Various Voices: Prose, Poetry, Politics (Faber & Faber, 2005), copyright © Harold Pinter 2005, used by permission of the author

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1After Lunch


3Cancer Cells

4The Disappeared



7Cricket at Night

8Poem (Don't Look...)


10It Is Here

11Before They Fall


13Poem (The lights glow...)

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17I know the place


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22All of That

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28The Task

29The Second Visit

30You in the Night

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34The Islands of Arran Seen from the Moher Cliffs

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36I Shall Tear Off My Terrible Cap

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40School Life

Books by Harold Pinter