This magical book of verse is decorated with beautiful imagery and metaphors which will aesthetically attract the readers, irrespective of their age, caste and religions. Let us now focus on the title of this collection.
The poet and her poetic self are inseparable. The poet unfurls her wings riding on the vehicle of poetry. It is a door through which she peeps into her own soul. Poetry soothes her agonized soul. The poet has brilliantly presented this concept of poetry in her poem “Poetry Reigns”. Like the Romantic poet Percy Byshe Shelley, she too considers herself as “the unacknowledged legislator of the world. She avers,
Crossing so many et tu Brutus
Moments in life…
Then the feathers of poetry soothe..(p.7,Poetry Reigns)
Her motherly love for her son is also envisaged in the poem “Lines to My Son”. This beautiful poem touches the inner corridor of hearts of the readers. This marvellous lyric ends with a powerful melodious heart touching note:
And if ever,dear,if ever,you,the wayfarer
Get trapped in the illusions of life may offer
Look back,hold my hands
In your memory’s lane I would be eternally alive.(p.11, “Lines to My Son”)
Apart from being a folklorist, and a mother, she is truly a poet of nature. Nature- its seasons, landscape, sea, winter become alive with the magic spell bounding touch of her ink. In the poem “Odishan Landscape”, the poet feels nostalgia, a kind of homesickness for his native Elysium, her innisfree.
The Odishan landscape,the temple,the river-all these haunt her and she feels a restless longing to mix up with all these beauteous forms of mother nature.In an interview she expressed her feelings and longing for her native land. To quote her own words “The Odishan landscape in its varied hues is what I’ve grown up with, so it’s very deeply rooted in me.
The smell of the first rains of the season, the vivid understanding of the seasons by relating to the change in nature, the landscapes,mountains of Kalinga Ghat, the sights, the sounds, the flowers and the birds, the temples which have an ethos of their own, the sea, the rich cult of Lord Jagannath and even the people – every bit of it I carry close to my heart even though am in Delhi since last eight years.” She poetically ventilates :
There is love,there is hope,
Happiness amid all pain..(p.31, “Odishan Landscape”)
Her poems like A Drop of Nectar, Shadow, Between Myself and Myself, The Unnamed, The Puppet, She is That Woman, Re-telling an Old Tale, The Other Side of Silence show her artistic skills as a mature poet.
These are gems to be read over and over again. One of the poems of this anthology “Shoes” will aesthetically compel the readers to immediately fall in love with her magic lines. It reminds us of Daddy of Sylvia Plath and a bit of Tagore (head is held high).
There is a wonderful flow of thoughts and she has almost created myth about shoes. The thundering effect of the shoes of her grandfather is beautifully and symbolically described in the opening lines of her poem.
The simile produces an awe-inspiring effect on the minds of the readers. And in a confessional tone, the poet has wonderfully depicted the character of her grandfather-an honest Govt. officer, a blind follower of his British boss and she has presented before us a beautiful and vivid account of her Grandma-
Mem Saheb, wearing full-sleeved blouses,
imported raw-silks, kundan jewelry
chewing betel and supari.
The shoes of oppression, shoes of Patriarchy, from the time of her grandfather (producing awe-inspiring noise) through her father’s polished pitch-black shoes, then the dominating Shoes, shabby, unpolished and at last there is a pair of small shoes neat and tidy, her son’s shoes- all these expressions knitted with heart touching imagery and metaphors catch the attention of the readers. She asks:
“Do androgyny and patriarchy
give you the space
to think otherwise? (P.58,Shoes)” -these lines strike the key note of the poem.
Dr. Sahu is also a great writer of haikus. Some of her haikus Life, Happiness, Maa, Rain, Wings, Memory, God, Oblivion are worth mentioning. Poetry to her “is an expression of the incipient self …both an introspection and a liberation, an expression that is wily nilly shaped by a very intricate study of literature and musings on the journey of life--both aspects that I’ve always been very passionate about.”
Her words dance on her pen’s tongue. True to say, her poetry collection Sukamaa and other Poems is a welcome addition to the world of poetry and a worthy entry to the personal and library collections. Yes poetry wins!