How nature her moves


Bhagawhandi P. was an Indian girl

whose brain a malignant tumour’d swirl.

Admitted to hospice in seventy-eight

the time-bomb ticking ‘it’s getting late’.


At nineteen she’d lived her life to the full

cheerful resisting (a bright girl) the pull

of seizures becoming more frequent and stranger

a dreamy state, to her not a danger.


Going from vague to concrete visions,

a passage to India and an admission

free from them both, medication and rain,

back to her loved ones and fields so plain.


She does not believe in time as decaying,

dances down sweet hills, forever surveying,

as nurses their hands on her forehead place,

how nature her moves in mysterious ways.


It’s no dream-madness but phantasms, all

clear memories turning of spring and of fall.

Not charged with passion or driving her mad

but paintings, tone poems, happy and sad.


As if in a trance, eyes open, unseeing,

her faint, mysterious smile not fleeing.

Just once Sacks asked his Bhagawhandi

‘What is happening please can you not tell me?’


‘I am dying, dear Doctor’ the answer came

‘Or call it returning, it is all the same’.

Another week and she did not respond

to external stimuli or to the fond


remarks from staff, and then she died

or as they called it, ‘at last arrived’.

They wonder now and one asked a friend

‘Does dying mean being born again?’


I provide no answer, just a feeling detect

that I neither wish to indulge nor reject.

Instead I tell you now I am done with this ballad

and will go down to compose me a salad.


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