Genre is immaterial for me when it comes to poetry. Cadence cannot be imprisoned in any prescribed format. Beauty of poetry lies in freedom of choice of expression. Freedom, which the poet enjoys, by way of his personal preference towards a mode by which he/she wishes to voice his/her thoughts, or in absolute contrast, reinforce reticence. This mode may be a rhyming or a blank verse, a Haiku or a Tanka, an Etheree or a Sonnet, or simply prose poetry.
One may, at this point, ask how or why the poet can reserve his/her views while in the process of explicitly wording his/her thoughts. To this I say therein lies the magic of poetry – that beatific amalgamation of the said and the unsaid, the story expressly told and the tales implicit in the untold, what is spoken in so many words and what remains unspoken in deliberate silences, in between the lines, left to the readers to interpret in his/her own way. It is this allowance for individual interpretation of the poet’s innermost feelings that endows a distinct flavour to poetry. It is in this process of understanding and appreciating a poet, without having even an indirect acquaintance or established intimacy with him/her, that essentially an ethereal bonding is forged between the reader and the read.
As the noted Urdu poet Nida Fazli says,
“Meri aawaaz hii purdah hai mere chehrey ka
main hoon khamosh jahaan mujhko wahaan se suniye”
Loosely the ethos of the “sher” stands translated (gustaakhii maauf…my apologies!) thus:
“My words are a camouflage of my thoughts
Fathom my silences to glean my soul”
The great poet has miraculously and magnificently intertwined his silences in words. What more can be said of poetry?
So, when I got hold of my co-blogger, Somali K. Chakrabarti’s “Lei, A Wreath For Your Soul”, I was actually intent on deciphering the pauses interwoven in her eloquent word craft. Lei is Somali’s first born. While she tags her anthology of short verses as A Wreath, all along while experiencing the wizardry of Somali’s word play, I was acutely conscious of what lay beneath the garland of fragrant blooms, and by the time I finished reading, I was deeply inhaling the intoxicating fragrance of her soulful musings.
Yes, some of her verses have lyrical quality. While in others I find an uncommon fusion of a scientific temper with a poetic flair. Exceptional indeed!
In verses, where she talks of Fractals and Schrodinger’s Cat, an unusual matrix leaps up where Nature and her infinite bounties are measured with the precision of engineering skill. By the way, Somali is an Engineer by qualification and a Poet by heart. Needless to say, this two dichotomous sides of her persona get evenly blended to divine perfection in her verses. There is no faction between illusion and reality as there is no friction between her vocation and avocation.
A few examples to cite those infinitesimal pauses which make way for the exclusivity of poems, in Somali’s own words:
seeing the sun eager to
meet its shadow, the lone ferryman
makes a retreat
This one which has a compelling influence of Tagore:
while I was seeking
the world far and wide, it
the tiny water droplet
Lei is replete with impactful visuals which highlight the essence of each verse. But remarkable are the imageries that Somali’s verses create, with almost a reckless abundance, which is picture perfect, to say the least:
does not heed to the dark
with its shimmering light
moon quietly bathes the ocean
the moon smiles
Wisdom compressed in cadence is a poetry-lover’s delight:
dazzling with a thousand stars, the gorgeous diva
beams each night,
those who went up to the moon saw
vast vacuum she held inside!
And this one:
bathed in dewy light
a splendor in marble white
floats in the morning calm
with memories i bring back
the enigma on my palm!
Lei comprises of fifty five Haiku and Tanka. It is the breeziest read than one can expect. However, the limitless depth of the verses make one aspire for more. I have already read it twice, or thrice? Don’t know. But I, especially, relate with the epilogic verse where Somali elaborates why she writes. Her experiential realization is exemplified thus:
sucked in spiral
of life, realization dawns one day
standing at the edge, all the while, I forgot to
look within, and traverse the way
Lei has a Zen-like essence. In the foreword of the anthology it is described as a garland of micro-poems inspired by Nature reflecting on Life.
A must read for all poetry lovers.
Before signing of, let me share some of my favourite verses from the book:
colours of heaven
blend, make splendid sight,
‘hey look, I’m the most bright’
And this one:
pliant love subtly unfurls;
elastic are the way of heart;
in proximity it yearns to possess, firms up grip
yet, contends with sense of being
when pulled apart
looking back in time,
joining dots, I find, a few
moments, which seemed
once mild, have surreptitiously
shaped and bent the course of life
Lei is available on Amazon.
Its one of those thought provoking bed-time books which make you relax as well as prod you to ponder on life!!
I wish Somali All The Best for her future writings!!!
With Love & A Very Big God Bless to All My Readers!!!