The Dance of the Peacock: Treading in Different Paths

The Dance of the Peacock: Treading in Different Paths

A Review by Nuggehalli Pankaja

 ‘Poetry includes whatsoever of painting can be made visible to the mind’s eye, and whatsoever of music can be conveyed by sound and proportion without singing or instrumentation.’ This mammoth anthology of poetry containing the poesy of 151 poets from various parts of the world stands as testimony to the above definition of the famous critic Leigh Hunt. Flutter, dazzle  of the colorful wings of the peacock the celestial bird  abounding in Ujjain-the homeland of the great poet  Kalidasa and also celebrated in his immortal works, dances through the pages made alive  with different chords- various rainbow pens!  Each feather-the emblem of   Krishna, prances likewise to the rhythm of every lyric emanating from hundred and fifty-one heartstrings!

Going through the   poems contributed by poets in all walks of life, one cannot but admire the hard work and intense interest invested by the editor Vivekanand  Jha  while bringing out this stupendous work. It is no joke to unearth poets known-unknown and bring them into limelight; Sort of research work requiring good amount of patience – dedication, and vision. Vivekanand Jha has proved himself worthy of the task. Right from the start he was in constant touch with the contributors, informing them  of the progress made, thus involving each one of them with his project;  So much so  that, in no time we found ourselves identifying with the anthology! Hidden Brook Press of Canada – a prestigious publication, should be congratulated for their commendable offering to the literary realm.

The poems therein make good reading, flowing as it does from various pens nurtured by different climes; Rich in variety, they are thought-provoking. Though one can discern similarity in subjects, like ‘Poetry-Love-Mother, Rape, Death’ etc, the approach being different, are quite appealing, making an impact on the emotions, bearing out my observation that ‘Poetry is imagination carved in emotion.’ I mention a few poems here to impart my view-point. Ambika Ananth’s  poem ‘COLD FURY’   is woven with pathos,  bringing the gruesome picture of the sudden floods  in Andra Pradesh  before the reader’s eyes: ‘The dead are dead- The living feel more dead With an ice-block for a heart Seeing the decaying flesh Of their very own kith and kin.’ Another poem of hers-‘LIFE’S REASONS’- Very heart rending- the young mother’s feelings, as her hopes droop to despair with the ‘imperfect child’ making its entry into her hitherto happy life.  Her agony, and the fierce love of a protective mother is beautifully drawn, making the reader’s heart writhe in pain: ‘Is this a punishment, a retribution and for what..?? she cried hoarse, feeling a desperate need to die when. . his hot, hungry fish-mouth clamped itself on her breast. a deep connection ran through her she cuddled him closer, their hearts beating together she saw him with the eyes of a mother’ .

Ami Kaye’s poem-‘A SCENE FROM A MUGAL GARDEN IN A MINIATURE PAINTING’ is a fascinating poesy! It is more like a painting in words, justifying the saying that ‘Poetry and painting are sisters.’ Subjectwise, Geetashree Chatterjee’s   ‘MY ROOTS’ is very good, while her another poem ‘TWIIIGHT’ is pregnant with deep emotion. Gopa Nayak’s   ‘I HAD PUT MEHENDI THAT EVENING’ is a sort of cry of a woman’s heart- a woman in full bloom!  Her another poem ‘THE NIGHT’, also throbs with feelings intense! Debjani Chatterjee,s  ‘TANKA’ and  ‘HAIKU’  make pleasant reading  with well brought out thoughts, especially  ‘MY CUP OF TEA’,  ‘SCHOOL BELL HAIKU’ and ‘RECOLLECTING YOUTH ‘–. ‘O Jasmine garland Wilted in white hair you scent My memories green.’ Anita Nair’s ‘HELLO LUSI’ is a poem with depth; one other small poem of hers–‘WHISKEY WHISPERS’ has the charm to overpower the reader though the contents are ambiguous.

K. Sachidanandan’s  Malayalee translated poems are catching, especially  ‘GANDHI  AND THE  TREE’, and ‘OLD WOMEN’. The pathetic state of old women is brought out with deep empathy.” Friendship is the gift of the almighty to mankind, as such, should be cherished; not everyone is lucky enough to experience that unique bond.  H.K.Kaul   has expressed his feelings in a striking way   through his poem- ‘ON THE SLOPES’. ‘BROKEN IMAGE’   by K.V. Raghupathy is poignant subjectwise, whereas Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s Haikus are like a breath of fresh air, while M.V.Satyanaraayana’s poem ‘STREET CHILDREN’ is effective in bringing out their sordid state.

‘HAVE YOU BEEN RAPED?’ of Tejdeep Kaur Menon is, as the title itself suggests, about the ghastly crime committed every other day. The beginning itself is intensely painful as he questions the perpetrator of the heinous crime- ‘My sister was raped. Yours? Never. Your sister should be safe Like in  a match  box. A harsh tug will shred her, The winds drop her into oblivion, Nobody wants a torn kit!.’ The poet has compared her to a new fragile kite launched in the firmament! ‘SOULBLIND’- of Vasuprada Kartic stands out for the depth of thoughts assailing the helpless second sex, concluding with a note of mockery at man’s blindness when it comes to women! ‘GENDERCIDE’, written by Amol Redij, brings tears to anybody’s eyes for it is about a custom of silencing forever the newly born baby girl in a huge round vessel of milk, the young mother’s tears? Nobody cares; But the old lady who was hurling curses at her, now sits back satisfied. ‘FIND YOUR LEVEL’ by Shanta Acharya , is the monologue of a river as she speeds along.,   The idea is very good, and absorbing, ‘She hums as she skips along’. ‘Everywhere I GO’- Sneha Subramanian Kanta’s  poem is pregnant with deep meaning. ‘SECRET OF A STORM’ by Hiranya  Aditi   is penned in a picturesque  way.

A young girl writing like that is highly creditable indeed! A promising future can be envisaged. ‘KAMATHIPURA’, is an extremely powerful poem written by Aftab Yusuf Shaikh. One has to read it to feel the agony terrible! Finally, the poems of Vivekanand Jha. What catches the reader’s attention is the thread of humane feeling running through his poems. His  ‘ELEGY TO ANIMAL’  pours forth   his sympathy   towards the mute beings, while ‘HONOUR KILLING’   pinpoints the cruel fatwa of certain societies; The poem  ‘SOMEONE ELSE’  brings out a stark picture of  the gruesome plight of the  unfortunate girl ravished  without pity.; Last stanza of the poem cannot but leave an indelible stamp on any  sensitive  mind: ‘Her only guilt– She was the daughter Or sister of someone else, Not of the passers-by.’ ` HOW TRUE!

As mentioned above, the editor has covered a wide range of subjects, even to graveyard, honor killing, not to mention puranic subjects like Menaka and Vishvamitra, etc; Repetition of certain common-current themes being as Bacon says-  “The same feet of nature may be seen treading in different paths” To sum up,   Poetry is a medium wherein, the innermost thoughts flow uninhibited, thus unknowingly revealing the poet’s state of mind, desires-disappointments, mental conflicts etc;. Perusal of the poems of even   old poets substantiates this theory. Perhaps that is why poetry is said to be the outlet of emotions in all forms, portraying the unfathomable imagination of the poet.


Nuggehalli Pankaja (b. 1929) is an established writer both in Kannada and English. She has many Kannada novels, children’s books, collection of humourous works, short stories and dramas to her credit. Two popular Kannada movies- Sepoy Ramu and Gagana were based on her novels. English publications in Deccan Herald, Times, Illustrated weekly, Women’s era, Mirror, India-Review etc are widely appreciated. She was conferred with ‘Excellence in World Poetry Award’ by the International Poetry Academy.  She is mentioned in ‘Women of India’, ‘Reference Asia’ and ‘Who’s Who’ of Central Academy. Recipient of many prestigious awards, she has been honoured by various literary organisations.


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