When Death Begins to Mourn for Life — A Poem by Asima Hassan

Oct 20, 2021

Dr. Asima Hassan brings us a touching poem that addresses the loss of life as it relates to the bond between a mother and a child. Perhaps the most difficult topic to explore through any artform, yet central to Picasso’s “Guernica”, Dr. Hassan’s poem verbalizes the unspeakable to give a contour to unfathomable grief.

When Death Begins to Mourn for Life 


Mother, do you see me, through the shards of time;
Waiting for you to cook me a warm meal?
Maybe my stillness does not penetrate
To reach you amid this unsolicited mourning.

But I can see you through this seamless shroud, crisp and white;
Wailing over my cold shriveled flesh.
Why do you stare at the blood splattered on my garments?
Time will not wash it away, like it does everything else.

You kiss me, in anguish, one last time.
You ask me if I attained my salvation.
You remember hearing my footsteps just feet away from home;
Before everything got muffled by the sound of gunshots.

O Mother!

My redemption sleeps beneath the soft notes of your lullabies,
While your misery bathes itself mercilessly in the color of my longing.
Ask me not how far silence pierces the noise;
When death begins to mourn for life.

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About the Contributor

Working as a specialist (surgeon) in Srinagar, Kashmir, Asima Hassan is a doctor by profession who shares a love for poetry, literature and art. Dr. Hassan spends her time outside of her profession writing bits and pieces as a way of expressing herself while also trying her hand at abstract art.