‘ICU Number 23’, – A poem by Dr Aparna Santhanam

Categories: Community Engagement 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 #3 of 25..


‘ICU Number 23’, by Dr Aparna Santhanam from Mumbai

I lie in bed so comatose,
Tubes coming out of me,
Machines can only help me breathe,
As I barely hear or see.

Now I’m just a case here,
ICU number 23;
The human being that I was
Is out there, somewhere free?

You’ll find me in the sunshine,
You’ll find me in the trees;
You’ll find me in the chatter,
Of the waves of the seas;

You’ll find me in the laughter,
In the smile on your face,
You’ll find me in your morning walk,
Matching you pace for pace.

I know you find it really hard,
To accept that I am gone.
I’m no longer truly in this bed,
And that makes you forlorn.

You’ve always been a gentle soul,
Looked after me so well,
Been there through every single joy
And every sorrow that befell.

I will be there in every thought,
Through happiness and sorrow;
I will be the memory you hold close
Every day from tomorrow.

I seek your kindness this last time,
I ask your love to flow,
I seek your strength and generosity
To please, just let me go.


About the Poet: Dr Aparna Santhanam is a Dermatologist and a Transformational Life coach. Her interest in palliative care primarily stems from reading the book “Doctors” by Erich Segal in her youth, her rich conversations with Dr Rajam Krishnan on the complexities of this field, and from her own journey as a transformational life coach, while working with people on grief, loss and healing.


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

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