Ananta Madhavan


'Did I Ever Exist? ' - Poem by Ananta Madhavan

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I am not sure I ever lived, except in this imagined space,
This concoction of words that perhaps make a little sense
To a kindly heart like yours.

If I was never born,
I never died. Was I immortal
Without ever being me, a person with a body, mind and soul,
Like you, but different, a unique variant?

I am no freak, no fiction, once I was a fact,
If Time can be trusted, solar or cosmic.
My tale is sad and simple. Mother's womb
Was all the world I ever knew
Before I grew to be a person,
Rather than a form of words, your words, this verse.

She cherished and sustained me
Over nine months. She boasted to her man
That she could feel me kicking inside.
If I had lived among folks like you,
I might even have twitted about my ‘kick-start' into your world.

The x-rays showed me up, a shape, a foetus,
A something or someone not quite understood.
The medicos murmured strange Latin phrases
I never had to learn. Mother swallowed tablets,
Tonics and elixirs. They warned her a to lay off
Sugar and salt and lose weight. But she, poor thing,
Could not resist a treat. Did I imperil her,
Unconsciously sneaking into a world I never made,
Never could have imagined?
Poor Mother wanted to smuggle me in,
A licit immigrant with a lifelong visa.

"The whole earth is our hospital", said your T.S. Eliot.
They would not admit me, a casualty,
Immune to oxygen mask and ventilator,
Dismissed with an exculpating sentence:
"Dead on arrival".
- - - - -
31 October,2014.

Topic(s) of this poem: birth


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This personal tragedy led me to re-read T.S. Eliot's 'East Coker', the second of his 'Four Quartets'; hence my quote from that deeply contemplative poem, which prompts one's own meditation of experience.

Comments about 'Did I Ever Exist? ' by Ananta Madhavan

  • Nika Mcguin (2/20/2017 2:45:00 PM)


    This is so sad....The way it started off I thought it was just another metaphysical philosophic poem. But no - the true story behind it gives life and voice to a being that never got the chance to speak or be a part of our world. This was a very moving read. Usually this kind of topic is written from the mother or father's perspective; but hearing it from the child's perspective is both refreshing and very heartbreaking. (Report) Reply

    A. Madhavan (2/20/2017 10:28:00 PM)

    I am deeply touched by your sympathetic reading. It encourages me to continue trying to write
    verse or prose n words, phrases and images that stir fellow-feeling in a reader intuitively, though
    the context may be unfamiliar. I thank PH for this generous linking of minds.

    0 person liked.
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  • Indira Renganathan (2/20/2017 9:12:00 AM)


    Very pensive....very touching....no words beyond silent tears (Report) Reply

    A. Madhavan (2/20/2017 10:41:00 PM)

    Thank you, Poet Indira Renganathan. As one who is from the same culture and environment, may I
    request you to browse another poem I posted in PH, 'Praise for woman's courage in Suburbia'. /we
    value compassion. That theme stirred my verse about a 'Mottled Cow' on the street below our balcony. Best wishes. AM

  • Edward Kofi Louis (2/20/2017 8:25:00 AM)


    Imagine space! ! With the muse of life. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

    A. Madhavan (2/20/2017 11:46:00 PM)

    You are a veteran, your view counts. Thank you. Let us continue.

  • Clarence Prince (2/20/2017 8:22:00 AM)


    Once come into this world, life long visa is granted,
    and that's for sure; whether for long or short stay!
    (Report) Reply

  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (2/20/2017 5:29:00 AM)


    'Did I Ever Exist?
    A very touching way to relate a pathetic incidence which is the most unexpected by a young hopeful mother. Especially when a man empathizes such a being, it sounds marvelous. Your positioning is well deserved Congrats and thanks for sharing a poem of great profundity.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/20/2017 5:11:00 AM)


    I am gratified that 'Poem-Hunter' has chosen this verse as the 'Member-poem' of 20 February,2017. This
    private family tragedy does merit commiseration by sensitive readers. AM
    (Report) Reply

  • Christina Simmons (2/20/2017 4:43:00 AM)


    I was deeply moved when I read this poem: I found it rather haunting (echoed in my ear.) I also read it tentatively. Thoroughly understood what was being convey. You did well by adding your own imprint to a very well known piece of masterpiece! Congratulation for getting recognition for the day. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (2/20/2017 3:36:00 AM)


    a very sad poem of innocence being lost to a brave new world? (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak (2/20/2017 1:38:00 AM)


    A touching and poignant poem- - I am reading it again and it really moves me as a reader - - -The way you handle a subject of 'Still Birth when an embryo dies in the mother's womb before seeing the light of the world, is an amazing work of poetic craft..- -Congratulations for being the Poet of the Day. (Report) Reply

  • (2/20/2017 1:34:00 AM)


    This is a heart-wrenching poem that brought me to tears. It elicited such strong emotion from me because I am a walking miracle. According to several specialists at that time, I was supposed to have died when I was only 14 months old. In a couple of days, I'll turn 65! So when I read such emotional and profound poetry, it truly moves me. And motivates me to write better than I'm presently writing. Congratulations on a very deserved Poem Of The Day. Looking forward to reading more. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (2/20/2017 12:52:00 AM)


    Fantastic poem! One of the best I've read on this site for a long time. Congratulations! (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (2/20/2017 12:29:00 AM)


    Interesting poem..., , , thanks for sharing.... (Report) Reply

    A. Madhavan (2/20/2017 12:45:00 AM)

    Thank you. This personal tragedy of a poor family trying to make a home in the city has roused the
    sympathy of several readers; this has inspired me to keep writing. I am truly grateful for your commending my idea of giving voice to an embryonic life, a possible fellow-being. AM

  • Sylva-onyema Uba (2/20/2017 12:19:00 AM)


    ...an exculpating sentence.

    Nice depiction of fiction and reality.
    Well written and communicated.

    Sylva.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (12/21/2016 1:26:00 AM)


    The poem, which is now my favourite, reads like an exciting journey ending in a tragic accident causing death of someone who ventured out for the first time to explore this wonderful world. Sad narrative and a very poignant denouement. Thanks for sharing.

    Poor Mother wanted to smuggle me in,
    A licit immigrant with a lifelong visa.
    Dead on arrival.
    (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak (10/23/2016 7:47:00 AM)


    The whole earth is our hospital, said your T.S. Eliot.
    They would not admit me, a casualty,
    Immune to oxygen mask and ventilator,
    Dismissed with an exculpating sentence:
    Dead on arrival.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - A very poignant write, thanks for sharing.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rose Kanana (9/8/2016 4:15:00 AM)


    A very deep message you have laid bare here.It hurts to never have lived to be a 'fact' despite the medicare (Report) Reply

    A. Madhavan (9/10/2016 6:23:00 AM)

    I feel elated when a reader like you respond to my verse in the same sympathetic way.
    This poem is about a young woman who really suffered this tragedy of a new life being
    snuffed out. Luckily, she became a mother two years later, and has a sprightly little baby girl now.
    Hope you can find some other poems of mine which please you. Best wishes, AM

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (4/12/2016 1:40:00 AM)


    If I was never born,
    I never died. Was I immortal
    Without ever being me, a person with a body, mind and soul,
    Impressive lines....
    If Time can be trusted, solar or cosmic.
    My tale is sad and simple. Mother's womb
    Was all the world I ever knew
    Before I grew to be a person,
    Highly philosophical.....

    Poor Mother wanted to smuggle me in,
    A licit immigrant with a lifelong visa.
    Nice humour with a touch of hidden tragedy.

    Dismissed with an exculpating sentence:
    Dead on arrival.
    It is the painful climax.
    Nice poem sir.You deserve 10++
    (Report) Reply

  • Ernest Makuakua (1/4/2016 4:25:00 AM)


    thank you for sharing its such a beautiful poem

    I am not sure I ever lived, except in this imagined space,
    This concoction of words that perhaps make a little sense
    To a kindly heart like yours.

    If I was never born,
    I never died. Was I immortal
    Without ever being me, a person with a body, mind and soul,
    Like you, but different, a unique variant?

    I am no freak, no fiction, once I was a fact,
    If Time can be trusted, solar or cosmic.
    My tale is sad and simple. Mother's womb
    Was all the world I ever knew
    Before I grew to be a person,
    Rather than a form of words, your words, this verse.

    beautiful
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/12/2015 12:30:00 PM)


    In this imagined space of life. Nice work. (Report) Reply

    A. Madhavan (12/12/2015 8:57:00 PM)

    Sincere thanks for your appreciative comment. Such commendation restores one's
    longing for self-expression in words which readers find worth reading again. Best wishes, AM

  • (10/22/2015 5:49:00 AM)


    It was really impressing, thanks (Report) Reply

Read all 31 comments »




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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poem Edited: Friday, October 31, 2014


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