‘Doctor, Shall I have an Ice Cream’ – A poem by Dr Neethu Susan Abraham

Categories: Opinion and People & Places.

The Indian Association of Palliative Care celebrated this year’s World Poetry Day by publishing ‘A symphony of Words: A collection of poems‘ penned by our very own friends from the palliative care community. We continue to share a poem, each week, for our friends to enjoy!

The poem for this week, Poem #10 of 25..


‘Doctor, Shall I have an Ice Cream’ by Dr Neethu Susan Abraham, New Delhi, India


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..


About the poet: 

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.

To read poems from the entire collection, please click here.



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