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

  • (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

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • 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

  • Jaishree Nair (9/6/2015 3:51:00 AM)


    A personified poem .The feelings of mother and its baby nicely phrased. The baby growing and finally not able to step into the world .Touchingly defined the feelings of a still born.Thanks (Report) Reply

  • Abdulrazak Aralimatti (8/26/2015 10:57:00 PM)


    A thoughtful poem,
    Loved reading th poem
    (Report) Reply

  • Akhtar Jawad (12/3/2014 1:28:00 AM)


    For a few moments this poem made me silent! A heart touching poem! ! ............10 (Report) Reply

  • (11/21/2014 1:25:00 AM)


    A very profound and deep experience in life, a baby having only existed in a mother's womb and is now no more,
    even with all the modern technology. I like how you incorporated and blended a growing fetus with that of writing poetry! A very unique way of seeing this situation in some mother's lives. Thank you for sharing, I really loved
    how you presented it. RoseAnn
    (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (11/10/2014 3:41:00 AM)


    An anomaly of creation...! Inspite of all precautions taken and medication administered, the child happened to be a still born immune to oxygen mask and ventilator! So its existence is only in the space of words!

    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.

    Love these lines........! A very deep write... a little esoteric!
    (Report) Reply

Read all 23 comments »




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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poem Edited: Friday, October 31, 2014


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