Caught in the Mo(u)rning Rain
by R. R. Pravin

"Though today may be your last with us
It will be your first in a new home
Where the sun always shines."

Pravin uses the written word as both a therapeutic mechanism and a heartwarming expression of the human spirit. This compilation, based on his experiences in paediatrics, haematology-oncology, and palliative care among others is an honest portrayal of a child's suffering and the support of the medical staff and family that strives to allay the pain with the warmth of their love. The author's work both with children that have a terminal illness as well as children with special needs is less work and more his life's mission; this sentiment is conveyed strongly throughout the poetry.

From tears of grief to tears of happiness, this collection drops the reader into an emotional blender. In "The Aftermath," for example, the imagery of old glass windows caked with dust evokes raw feelings of excruciating grief and the understanding that a loved one will never return. Similarly, "Mercy," is heartbreaking: The child pleads to an allegorical character, Mercy, while he or she feels life slowly slipping away. Countless poems in this compilation will bring its readers to tears. Mankind, at one point or another, has been caught in this mourning rain and can relate directly to the anguish.

The title poem is perhaps the most intriguing of all; it's metaphor-filled verses embody the predicament of the children in pediatric palliative care. Referring to the heart as "heavier than a cannonball" and seeking shelter from "torrential tears," the author seems to suggest that ultimately, kids still want to be treated like kids. The coldest of hearts will find warmth in these poems. Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, children do not let their spirit be broken, no matter how physically transformed their disease might make them. Pravin's introspective poetry will move the heart and stir the soul.

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