Last of the Spirit Bears: The Greatest Hits (2014-2019): Paediatric Palliative Care & Complex Care Anthology
by R. R. Pravin

"I’ve experienced loss and I know how it feels – the alienation, the anguish, the injustice, I’ve been through it all before, therefore I know."

Pravin is a doctor specializing in pediatric palliative care. He is also an accomplished poet, concentrating on emotive images drawn from his profession and often expressed through the perceived voices of his patients, as in “Sometimes I Wish the Skies Were Bluer”:

I wish God would just look down and
Listen to me for just one day of my life
Is it so hard to ask someone so mighty
For a tablespoon of pity?

In “Power Remix,” he speaks for the “nine-year-old behind this disease they have yet to really find a name for.” In the eponymous offering, he pays homage to the First Nations, comparing lost children to deeply reverenced “spirit bears…dying one by one of mysterious modern maladies primitive medicines couldn’t cure.” Pravin also speaks for himself, envisioning what it will be like “When It Comes to My Turn”:

Up there, the children
I lived and cared for
Will be waiting at
The old platform
I promised I will
Meet them again
One fine Sunday morn

Pravin exhibits a rare combination of scientific and artistic skills. He has organized this poignant collection well. An “Inspiration” accompanying each poem reveals his connection to real children who have suffered and sometimes perished from incurable conditions. Each patient has touched the poet’s heart. At times, photographs enhance the poems. The poems emerged between 2014 and 2018 and were released in four parts over that period. They have served as fundraising support for an organization dedicated to the oversight of “these little angels and their families.” Pravin has sworn to improve palliative care for all children. His creative compilation is designed to generate interest in care for critically ill youngsters while conveying a universality of feeling that could inspire or comfort anyone caught in the direct throes or painful recollection of grief.

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