Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities


Prasad Iyer


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.


Black and white illustration of a skeletal man carrying off a child, who raises their hand to call for someone to save them. Death with a Child, from the series The Five Deaths. Stefano della Bella.

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.


Fall 2019  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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