In the introduction to Art and Simple Reality we observed that artistic expression is often intuitive. Lawrence LeShan agrees because: “Before he begins new research, he reads to see whether poets and artists have already expressed the same ideas. If they have, he proceeds, knowing he’s on the right track.”

Human expression, especially artistic expression, is a healthy outlet. As Dr. Bernie Siegel observed in his book Love, Medicine and Miracles, “It is probably the reason cancer is more common in convents than in prisons: in jail you can at least act out your frustrations.”  Be that as it may, the following poem by W. H. Auden expresses the relationship between disease and frustrated expression.

She bicycled down to the doctor,
And rang the surgery bell;
“O, doctor, I’ve a pain inside me,
And I don’t feel very well”

Doctor Thomas looked her over,
And then he looked some more;
Walked over to his wash basin,
Said, “Why didn’t you come before?”

Doctor Thomas sat over his dinner.
Though his wife was waiting to ring;
Rolling his bread into pellets;
Said, “Cancer’s a funny thing.

“Nobody knows what the cause is,
Though some pretend they do;
It’s like some hidden assassin
Waiting to strike at you.

“Childless women get it,
And men when they retire;
It’s as if there had to be some outlet
For their foiled creative fire.”


Self-expression – Table of Contents


References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry.

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