Dr. Nandini Vallath

I see you prancing …. alongside, the words of the wise…
..delightfully deep … yet empty, when otherwise…

I smell you in the fragrant bloom … as it blossoms in the dark
In the darting glow in arid woods…., ever ready to spark

I hear you in the waves that kiss the shore, void and spent
… and in the depth of the oceans … resolute to heave, and ascent…

I feel you as The Equipoise …. that refines my deeds …
As the inspiring stillness … that listens and gracefully leads

Aren’t you the force that transforms… yet persists
…in the seed, in the Sun… and in all that exists?!

Aren’t you the genesis for hope, meaning and good sense
The Master that instructs… to listen, to be… to use some silence

Pause…would you grace me… as the ability of my healer ….
As I linger before fading.. into northern thin air?!

Will I then become you, Oh Pause…. at the end of my life…
And sail through the bardos to another simple life?

Dr Nandini is a Professor and Head: Department of Pain and Palliative Medicine, St. Johns National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru.

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Doctor, Shall I have an Ice Cream??

Dr. Neethu Susan Abraham
New Delhi

As I passed a look into her eyes,
She looked back with an anxious face.

As I offered her a sweet smile,
I found her widening her eyes.

Yes, I met her during my visit to the casualty ward;
Despite my tired face, I tried to continue to smile.

The pancreatic cancer had almost devoured her body inch by inch;
She tried to hold back her tears.

As I touched her hand with mine,
She smiled back, though all in awe.

As I leaned towards her to hear,
She whispered she wanted to ask something,
giving a weak look to her daughter.

Her daughter, herself a doctor, sanctioned her, the wish.

Her lips shivering, my poor patient asked me a question.
I listened, putting my ears close to her lips,
The question shook my heart not once!

Doctor, Shall I have an ice cream?

She trembled and fell silent after the question.
This time my smile was all teary;
As I nodded yes ignoring her daughters ‘no’ expression,
Oh! her divine smile radiating through her withered body.

Next, her daughter smiled; such a brightness in the room!
I pictured for one minute the poor mother,
Relishing her favorite ice cream with joy.
As I walked away, I knew I healed their hearts.
More than ever, I was in peace!! Little things matter a lot..

Dr Neethu Susan Abraham is a Senior Resident at the Department of Onco Anesthesiology and Palliative Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi. She has completed her MD in Palliative Medicine from the same institute.

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Embracing Life’s Transitions

Dr. Nidhi Fotedar,

In the end, when life grows frail and thin,
When strength is spent and hope grows dim,
There’s a comfort that we all can share,
A balm that soothes our pain and care.

It’s called palliative care, a gift of love,
A healing touch from those above,
A gentle easing of life’s last stage,
A warm embrace, a calming sage.

It’s not just medicine, but a gentle art,
A way to heal the mind and heart,
To give us peace and help us cope,
And fill our souls with light and hope.

It’s a way to honor life and love,
To celebrate the blessings from above,
To share the journey, ease the pain,
And help us find our way again.

So let us cherish this gift of care,
And honor those who give and share,
For in the end, it’s what we need,
To help us live, to help us lead.For life is precious, and every breath,

Is a miracle, a gift of death,
So let us walk this final mile,
With grace and love, and a gentle smile.

Dr Nidhi Fotedar is a final year Community Medicine Postgraduate at KIMS, Bengaluru. Her interest towards palliative care stems from her passion towards improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

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Dilemma of a Palliative Care Physician

Dr. Pratyasa Padhi
New Delhi

We have to be honest; we have to be clear
We are messengers of hope and harbingers of fear
We see it all, in comforting patients
Lit up eyes, hopeful prayers & painful laments
Such is the paradox, embedded in the job.

The endless strife to wipe a sob
Yes! It is not always possible to cure,
The maladies of life and diseases of yore
Cure may be not, but pain has no place.

Our fight is to put a smile on his face
The irony is stark, we need to be fair in despair
And care, when no one is able to repair
We stand by them and palliate till the end

Navigating the trials of life in every tortuous bend
It’s strange, they bless us while drawing their last breath,
A relationship is thus forged, in grief, calm and in the truth of death.

Dr Pratyasa Padhi is a Junior Resident (MD Palliative Medicine) at the Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, Dr BRAIRCH, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.


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Before the goodbyes

Dr. Preksha Singh

She’s the fire burning still in rain,
But her voice,
A rumble of thunder in pain.

She knows that the time is less,
She does want to grab it back.
She knows she won’t live long,
And she will be free from the ache soon.

A life of peace with no pain,
A day full of bliss ahead the doomsday,
She longs for care, love, and the warmth,
And tells the nurse when she’s around.

She doesn’t want to stay alone,
She needs someone till the dawn,
To share her pain and desires,
To live her last day full of dreams before the funeral pyre.

From the doctors to the nurses,
And everyone around who cares,
She knows they are angles,
To keep with her until she’s prepared.

Dr Preksha Singh is a BDS graduate with a keen interest in public health. She wished to utilise her skills towards making palliative care accessible to all.

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Make you smile, in the last mile

Dr. Samudyatha U. C.

Just a little more..
I do not know where the path leads,
Where the turns, bumps and humps are,
For this path is destined to your heeds;
Yet, I will nudge you; just a little more..

Your favourite white lilies line the path,
Calling out to you for a sprinkle bath.
Here, let me hold your bag for a while,
So that you can shower them with your smile!

Ah, what did the lilies say?
With joy, did they sway?
Off we go on your little woody way,
To walk together till the end, where it may.

I see you bent with the bag on your back,
Dragging yourself, with all your might along the track.
Your eyes search for the warmth of woods green,
Let me hold your bag, while you breathe in the pristine.

Around the corner, the beautiful stone house-
Songs of your children, in longing prose
Every word, every letter singing your name,
Let me hold your bag, so that you join them in their game.

Here you are – did they tell stories you missed?
Did they tell you that you were missed?
Off we go on your little woody way,
To walk together till the end, where it may.

I wonder what it must be,
To carry a sack like this be,
Tied at its neck, content and purpose unknown,
The sender and receiver unknown.
Yet, I will nudge you; just a little more..

Oh! The voices of your friends-
They are dragging you to their dance
Give me your bag before you go-
Dance around the lake at your stance.

I know that you would much rather
Bury the bag under the lilies you gather,
Or burn it in the house in a fire grate
Or throw it down the lake, if it were not too late.

You ask me again if I know the way,
I don’t know how it began or where it ends
I walk with many people like you,
Every time, the paths are different, just like you.

Wait, can you hear the sea?
A low rumbling wave as it hits the shore?
Do you think we are there – you must see
Is it the shore where you set down the weight you bore?

I will be nearby till you need me,
As you empty the bag into the blue sea-
Letting out the rock to sail, to be lost.
And now, only the memories of the path will last.

Dr Samudyatha U C is an Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, SDUAHER, Kolar, Karnataka. During the course of her work, she has developed a keen interest in palliative care.

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The Feather Touch

Dr. Satish G. Prabhu

Eyes glued to
The distant horizon,
Face mask like
Devoid of emotions,
Lustreless skin,
The setting sun
Sending shudders
Down the spine.

The homeward
Bound birds,
Symbols of hope.
The solitary raven
Perched comfortably
On a rickety branch,
Contrasting symbols
Of life.

The silent night
The slow but steady
Grip of gnawing
Pain biting
Into the bones,
A gentle wind
A caressing hand
From nowhere,
The hand of hospice
The feather touch.

Dr Satish G Prabhu is a Professor of General Surgery and a Consultant, Paediatric Surgeon, MOSC Medical College, Kolencherry, Ernakulam District, Kerala.

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The PalliWarriors

Dr. Seema Rao

Amidst the throes of pain and suffering
When hope seems long gone
The PalliWarriors come riding in
Offering comfort to depend on.

They hum a soothing refrain
Offering solace, a voice of calm
That alleviates the unending pain
For those caught in life’s final storm.

Their gentle words and soothing touch
And compassionate hearts that feel
Often does so very much
To soothe, comfort and heal.

Their tender smile and listening ear
Strive to understand
The struggles, uncertainties, and fears
Of those nearing life’s end.

Managing Opiophobia and Palliphobia
The PalliWarriors rage on
Creating for the dying, a utopia
Where comfort and dignity reign on.

Dr Seema R Rao is an Associate Director (Education & Research) at the Karunashraya Institute for Palliative Care Education and Research (KIPCER), Bangalore Hospice Trust – Karunashraya. She is also a Honorary Tutor, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK.

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9 Thoughts to “A Symphony of Words: A Collection of Poems”

  1. K Ashok Kumar


  2. Udyavara C Achar

    I have seen the Palliative care center Karunashraya at Bangalore totally managed by the dedicated director Dr.Seema Rao and quite impressed by the work done by her and her colleagues.I could hear lot of praises of her made my her patients and colleagues.I wish her all the best and the best recognition by Govt. of India very soon

  3. Udyavara C Achar

    I have seen the Palliative care center Karunashraya at Bangalore totally managed by the dedicated director Dr.Seema Rao and quite impressed by the work done by her and her colleagues.I could hear lot of praises of her made my her patients and colleagues.I wish her all the best and the best recognition by Govt. of India very soon.The poem by her is superb and heart touching.

  4. Dr r v k varma

    Good effort

  5. Gautham T

    Really nice Samudyatha.

  6. Parindra Bhuta

    Keep up the good work Seema!!

  7. Shefali Bhuta

    Expressed well Seema. Keep bringing smiles.

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