To My Father in Hospital

a poem by Sheela Chalapathi ramananda, India

Watching you lying
on the hospital bed,
tears roll down my cheeks
oh!my dear father!
The lines on your wrinkled face
tell many tales of bygone days!
When you open your eyes
I see a curdled sadness.
The roles have reversed
I am your parent and
you are my child.
Your face lit up with joy
when you brushed my teeth
why do you feel sad
when I brush your teeth?
Why feel uneasy when
I try to steady your
trembling hands?
These hands have fed
me and held me tight
when I cried.
When you make an attempt
to sit up,why look disturbed?
I know that you were happy
when I first sat up and fell back.
I remember the day
I took my first steps
tottering and falling!
You walked with me
and taught me how to walk.
Now,why feel depressed
that you cannot stand steadily,
I am here to teach you to walk again.
When I tried to talk
you enjoyed my baby talk
Why are you saddened
when your toothless mouth
lisps and stammers?
Looking at you I understand
that 'old age is second childhood'.

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