Poet’s statement: This poem expresses the feelings of parents who have recently lost a child to cancer. The first stanza deals with sadness, the second with guilt, and the last one with acceptance.
Death with a Child, from the series The Five Deaths. Stefano della Bella. 1648. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Public Domain due to age.
Life has fragrance eternally lost
Pure symphony now cut short
Broken hearts disparate and new
Don’t know how to restart anew
This body in its empty shell
Trying to survive this living hell
Reflection ours always haunt
As our minds forever taunt
Things done differently
Listen to you, did we intently?
Could it have been a cure?
All this we shall forever endure
Float away sweet child of mine
Gently into the warm sunshine
New horizons for you to explore
Precious memories left for us to adore
Making peace with shattered dreams
Fate perhaps has different schemes.
PRASAD IYER, MD, FRCPCH, is a consultant paediatric haematologist-oncologist at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Singapore. He is an amateur poet who is taking his first steps in writing poems. He grew up in India and trained in paediatrics and oncology in the United Kingdom. He believes he is a child of the world and loves to spend time travelling with his family.