Poem & Book Review: “When Breath Becomes Air”

Living in the Moment

Take the unexpected track, it’s unexpected even to you.
Do something different, do something new.

Maybe it works out, maybe it won’t.
it’s your choice if you try though, and yours if you don’t.

Maybe you shouldn’t, maybe you should.
Try every day though, know that you could.

Enjoy what comes to you, relish the turns,
live in the moment, watch as life burns.

The days turn to months and then years,
finally turns into your life…

….a thud of sinking realisation.
Hopefully
it’s all what you wanted
in the end.


I have just read “When Breath Becomes Air”, by Paul Kalanithi*. It’s a bestseller, and I got my copy from the library. I normally read a lot of books about death and mortality, and about neuro-science and doctors, so I knew what I was in for.

The book inspired me to write this poem about truly living in the moment, because ultimately, the moments are all we have.

It’s a short book, partly because it’s “unfinished” – it’s edited well but Paul died before fully completing it. The tone is contemplative and sober; most autobiographies by someone this young have many more years ahead of them. If you can get your hands on it, and you feel like you need a dose of humanity, I’d definitely recommend this book.

*Note: I recommend getting books from your local library where possible. It’s eco-friendly, supports a local community service, and most importantly, does not support the tax-dodging mega corporation Amazon. The link is for information purposes only and is not an affiliate link.

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