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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 24 New Delhi June 2, 2018

The Edict of Life

Saturday 2 June 2018

I was a foetus: the future crown

of womanhood, growing

in the warmth of your womb,

cradled in a web of dreams:

for you the caring motherhood,

for me an ever receding skyline.

Suddenly something happened;

you started miscarrying;

frantically your fingers moved

over the belly to feel

if my heart was beating.

A faint, assuring movement

throbbed beneath your palm.

Then it grew fainter and fainter,

ceasing to pulsate any longer.

And you asked for a termination.

But they denied you the choice:

an insentient foetus

still a precious gift of God,

forbidden for expulsion.

Agony prolonged; then, at last,

your life, a divine gift too,

was aborted instead;

a painful, senseless death

shattered dreams on the altar of edict.

A.K. Das

[This poem was written on Savita Halappanavar who died of septicaemia in Galway, Ireland, after being denied a potentially life-saving abortion.]

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