Tuesday, September 15, 2015


When Kaplan met Meier
no one knew about death's spire.
People came and went
through life's dint
swallowing little pills.

There were losses and wins
in the dungeons within
where ignorance roamed
and played to win
but most knew was a shill.

The two choreographed
the dance of death
as little sticks marred
the absence from loss
and time weighed in on the still.

The spurious results
that previously abound
couldn’t hide from the truth
of the elegant reveal.
All was visible in the kill.

Did this pill do
what that could not do
Or did both sire
into equal measure and retire
no one wiser in their gristmill

But Kaplan knew
what Meier intended
and Meier knew
what Kaplan pretended;
death like life cast a visible trill

Each step of the ladder
a loss of life
each vertical stick
a loss in reckoning,
both filled the tumbler of human ills

When pills were matched
on the graph they drew
one steeped low
the other climbed true
both bottom matched in the playbill

In that mathematical file
where the loss is subtracted
and the absence extracted
lives the benefit
or lack of that mill's pill

Breslow held the earlier gains
Tarone picked the middle plains
and Log ranked the last remains
to prove the time
benefits of each goodwill.

It is simple attrition, you see
as each life is a step
away from the majesty,
beginning the painful march
on the step ladder down the hill.

The march goes on
as life moves along
and death lives,
where time is variable,
full of surprises and untimely chill.

So to Kaplan and Meier
A toast to their desire
To highlight death from ills;
the good and the bad, all there
to be seen in their step-wise graphic frills.

(Also Published in Oncology Times, August 10 Issue)

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