Monday, February 20, 2017

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ THE POETRY OF SUMANA ROY


This week, my friends, we are privileged to enjoy some breathtaking poems by our very own staff member, Sumana Roy, who creates lovely prompts for us at Midweek Motif. I have been gathering her poems up like buttercups over the winter, and now there is a veritable garden of beauty for us to wander through. Sumana lives in India, and writes at SUMANAR / LEKHA. Sumana also writes beautiful translations of the poems of Tagore at her second site, SONAR TORI. Let's heat up a cup of chai, and draw our chairs in close. We don't want to miss a word.





Sumana: Thank you so much Sherry for featuring these poems of mine at Poets United. Feeling so honored. Poetry prompts at various sites are my constant source of inspiration. Some prompts force words out of me.

One such was Elizabeth Crawford’s Creativity Challenge Day 2. She chose the word 'Love' and ended saying, “Remember, we are reaching out to a world that needs to know it is loved and cherished.” Shall I say the poem wrote itself contemplating on this last sentence of hers? 


I’ll garden and tend
a few words
for you only.

Let me ignite
a spark of love
with the flint of words
that I have.

Or I’ll be the crust
and bear the pain
as my seedling words burst forth
shooting up for a sky, a sun.

I might even be the night
but I’ll write my love
in the words of stars and moon
only for you.

Or I’ll let my words be the fire flies
weaving dream by their dance
in your thirsty eyes
for a glint of light.


Sherry: Oh my goodness, but your words take me away, swooping about with the fireflies, my friend!

Sumana: It’s very important to grow, with much care, the words of love, very rare in today’s world of expletives; in the explosion of wrath and anger, the promise of warmth, forbearance, succor and space, so much needed in a relationship, is being blown away. Love is the only emotion where nothing is negative; even in darkness it helps see the twinkling light above. It can be cultivated to grow. It so often reminds me of a gardener and his hard work.

‘This Poem Is’ is another prompt-oriented poem. It was written for Sanaa’s Prompt Nights where she wanted poems or fictions based on the concept of gender, and also for Elizabeth’s Creativity Challenge Day 5 where the word for the day was ‘Meaning’ as in value. 


THIS POEM IS.........

This poem is a color, a gender and a meaning.

This poem is a tiny bloom with a color.
This poem is the upbringing of a girl.
This poem is a magnifying glass looking for a meaning.

This poem is born in fire and darkness,
but it has a will to drift in the breeze like fragrance.
It wishes to fling away its pink hue to the blue sky.
It is the core of all tints, shades and tones.
This poem is a tiny bloom with a color.

This poem is an open hearth furnace.
It is a story of heat to remove impurities.
This poem is suffocation itself and all devouring.
It knows too well how to melt iron and free will.
This poem is the upbringing of a girl.

This poem is a pair of curious eyes.
It is a hunt for the essence of all objects.
This poem never tires and has the strength of steel.
The poem doesn’t believe in hindrance.
This poem is a magnifying glass looking for meaning.

This poem is a fragrant flower
with the soul of all colors.
This poem is the magnificent life of a strong willed girl.
The poem is a quest for finding love and life’s meaning.




Sherry: I love this poem so much. It is a wonder! The upbringing of a girl, the soul of color, and the quest for meaning. Life - and poetry -  doesn't get more meaningful than that.


Adhik Kadam and his Borderless World Foundation


Sumana: I wished for a narrative touch for this poem and felt Hannah’s Boomerang Metaphors to be perfect for the theme.

Adhik Kadam, a young social entrepreneur from India, is this poem’s backdrop. He is the President of Borderless World Foundation and runs four homes for girls who lost their parents in earthquake, violence and natural death in Jammu and Kashmir. He has devoted his life to this cause in the violence-torn valley. His foundation has more than 140 girls at the four centers, and can support at least 1000+ girls in the community. He was caught and beaten black and blue, locked up, threatened by the terrorists 17 times.

The poem celebrates the indomitable spirit of the courageous yet victimized Kashmiri girls who came up triumphant against all odds, once again renewed their faith in life, and blossomed in the sweetest ways making happiness their destination: courtesy Adhik Kadam.

Sherry: I love hearing about individuals who see a need and devote their lives to meeting it. What an inspiring story! Thanks for making us aware, Sumana. Humans can be so wonderful!






I have an alone path
of words
that opens up
inside me
when all noises die down.
The light is either my own
or taken from others
who have gone before.
I have now
all the time of the world
to walk forever.
I am glad
I have no hurry
to reach a destination.
I let my brown leaves
have their autumn fall,
and am ever ready
for those winter days
when they will hibernate.
Even if no spring ever shows up
I have still
so many trails
others have left for me
to enjoy the walk.


Sherry: I love that "alone path of words" that opens inside of you. How apt!

Sumana:  What I actually intended to write in "Path" was about the peace within oneself and the means to reach there. In life there must be a destination, journey and a path. Peace IS my destination. However everyday happenings, negative vibes and rat-race would not let us be there. If you have a roof over your head, provisions for square meals a day and enough time for yourself is there anything more one could desire? 

Nicholas left a comment on my poem, saying the lure of the carrot at the end of the stick is all that keeps so many billions around the world trudging towards the promise of a spring that does not come. It’s good to stop and let the lure of the carrot at the end of the stick pass. It’s useless to squander away time and energy in this race. It was not until I retired from my service and it was a voluntary retirement that I had some ‘alone time’ for myself. I try to fill most of the time with words. Sometimes my own words, sometimes others’, and enjoy the healing effect with gratitude. "Path" originates from this space. 

Sherry: It is beautiful, both poem and the space from which it came.







As the day draws to a close
The Ganga* loses herself in the sea
Poetry words blunt into prose
The night writes the stars for me

The hawk-eye is fixed on the mice
Worms shift to beaks from the bark
Flowing water hardens into ice
I’ve fireflies to write in the dark

I am glad that I was born
I am glad that I shall die
I am glad that my path was of thorn
I will never ask Thou why

*The Ganges



Sherry: Sigh. The perfection of these words takes my breath away. I especially love the deep faith in "I will never ask Thou why."

Sumana: The poem "Acceptance" is my way of dwelling on Death. This is one truth one cannot but accept. A calm resignation before crossing the bar is an absolute necessity. Accepting the gift of this life with all its blooms and thorns, Faith in God & Afterlife, for the believers, and a life lived well and without regret for the non-believers might help the passage to be smooth. I used images regarding these in the poem. I wished to see how the word elicits responses from our poets so I used it as my prompt word in one of our Midweek Motifs. 

I also strongly believe that ‘acceptance’ is never accepting the unacceptable like what the world at present is being exposed to. But strangely enough one might not find as many voices necessary to register protest against atrocities. Acceptance is a broad shouldered word and can provide shelter to the needy.

Sherry: I so admire your worldview, Sumana, and am happy that you write and spread your wise and positive message. In closing, I would like to share your poem "Gifts", because reading it is a gift to anyone who reads it.




GIFTS

If I could only gift
my loved ones
a little piece of full moon
that would never wane,
in a little bottle
to be kept on the table and cherished.

If I could only gift
my loved ones
a forever Spring
with never ending blooms
in a clay pot
to be hung on the veranda wall.

It may sound absurd
yet they are my gifts of word
to my loved ones
living in every corner of the world.


Sherry: What a glorious showering of gifts your poems are, from your beautiful heart, Sumana. Thank you so much for the beauty you have shared with us today, and for your contribution at Poets United, which we appreciate very much.

We hope you enjoyed these offerings, my friends. And do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


41 comments:

  1. Such a concentration of gifts from Sumana is a joy! Sumana, your words smooth out wrinkles in the cloth of my understanding, take me to places I've wanted to go. I love that you affirm love as "the only emotion where nothing is negative; even in darkness it helps see the twinkling light above," love to learn of the loving service of Adhik Kadam, love that you suggest letting "the lure of the carrot at the end of the stick pass," and love imagining "the broad shouldered acceptance" that need not accept the unacceptable. Thank you for showing us how to use a prompt well, for continuing to blog as your retirement opens up so many choices before you. Now I know I haven't talked about the poems you chose, Sherry, but I think this comment is long enough. Thank you again for your features here. Thank you for your own poems and the joy of knowing you have moved home.

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    1. Thank you so much for the gift of these words Susan. Feeling so loved.

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  2. Sumana, I really liked your "Love" poem. We definitely do need to find ways to grow love in these troubled times. I enjoy the image of words as fireflies. "This Poem" explores so many different directions...so much substance in your lines. "Path" is beautifully penned. I like the idea of exploring the trails others have left. And the most profound poem of all -- "Acceptance" which I think speaks of the depth of your faith and philosophy of life. And you do indeed give gifts, Sumana, to your friends in every part of the world...as expressed in your poem "Gifts." You definitely are a POET, Sumana....whose words are to be savored.

    Sherry, thank you for this wonderful feature. A beautiful compilation of Sumana's words!!

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    1. Your words are a blessing to me Mary, specially the word POET; it's a dream of my life to be one. Thank you so much.

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  3. Think not about giving a piece of the moon in a bottle...your gift of words is greater, far flung to the corners of the earth. Sometimes we are unaware of the hope and comfort we give to others with our words.As you so wisely say enough food, shelter and time to create to give thanks for our gifts which we share with others, is all we need This is the secret to peace and contentment. Your beauty shines through your poems.Your spirituality is a calmness in a troubled world. We are fortunate to have you with us.And I know that I speak for everyone when I thank you for your prompts and participation on this blog.
    Also thank you for bringing our attention to the wonderful young man Adhik Kadam.We should all feel humbled by his service to the girls and women who suffer daily in this world.

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    1. Thank you so much Rall. What inspires me about Adhik Kadam is his determination to work for peace. Even in this evil time such angels live!

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  4. Another wonderful article, Sherry. Thank you so much for sharing Sumana. I enjoyed all of the poems, here, though I found myself lingering - prayful - over THIS POEM IS.........

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  5. I knew this feature would pour balm over hearts who so need assurance of love, light, faith and fireflies at this moment in time. Sumana, your poems are a gift to your readers, and the example of your deep faith is an inspiration. We are so lucky to have you among us. Thank you for sharing these poems and your thoughts today, and for your contribution to Poets United.

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    1. Oh Sherry what would I do if I didn't find Poets United? PU is the thousand petaled Lotus where I love to be the honeybee to taste and meet other humming friends. Thank you so much for featuring my poems today.

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    2. I really like thinking of Poets United as a Lotus that invites poets to hum!

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    3. I do, too.......such a humming hive we are. Sumana, we are richly blessed to have you here. So lucky to read your words and walk this journey with you.

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    4. It's such a joy to be here with you all....

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  6. Sumana Ma'am, You've always been an inspiration both for your prompts provided with incisive thoughts and more so the beautiful word-craft as shown in your poems!

    Hank

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  7. I am really inspired by all our dear poet friends. Thank you so much Hank:)

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  8. This interview, and the poems and conversation filled me with joy to read. Thank you both. Sumana's writings are a constant inspiration.

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  9. I loved all the beautiful poems that were featured here today especially "Love"(of course) and "Gifts" that desire that a part of us continues on in our loved ones. Thank you so much Sumana and Sherry for putting together another great 'Blog of the Week' feature.

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  10. This is such a wonderful interview❤️ thank you so much Sherry for featuring Sumana this week. Sumana, I absolutely love the poems which you have shared with us here especially "Path" in which you have so wisely stated "I am glad I have no hurry to reach a destination. I let my brown leaves have their autumn fall, and am ever ready for those winter days when they will hibernate" sigh..❤️ love the wisdom here as I too feel that our journey helps us learn and experience all that life has to offer.

    Also, I am so honored that you chose to share your poem "This poem is a color, a gender and a meaning" here! Sigh I still remember the first time when I read it. The way you depicted the strength, courage and endurance of a person was so tender, so eloquent!❤️ It left me very moved by the time I finished reading.

    I hope someday to able to depict the same strength and wisdom in my writing as you do Sumana. You're truly an inspiration to us all❤️


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  11. Aw...sweet Sanaa, thank you sooo much for these loving words. I cannot thank Sherry enough for the great job she does.

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  12. Dear Sherry wonderful to know more about Sumana...beautiful expressions and indeed talented and highly creative. Sumana your poetry is wonderful and thought provoking may you achieve much much more ..and keep blessing the world with your gifts of words' amen.

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  13. Yes, do keep blessing us with your poems and wisdom, Sumana. You walk with grace.

    You are most welcome, friends. It was an honour to bring this feature to you today.

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  14. What a beautiful feature, Sherry and Sumana!! I’m a long time fan of Sumana and its always great to get some more insight into her poetry. Beautiful, as always! The poems like 'Path'and 'acceptance' are my faves... :)) Awesome....

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    1. Thank you Panchali di, love your inspiring words :)

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  15. I have been away too long but oh what a treat to catch up with you here Sumana...thank you for this Sherry!

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    1. Thank you Donna...We're truly missing you here @ PU.

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  16. Thank you both for a beautful post!! I love each poem made of carefully chosen words. The post took me to another place!

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  17. Sumana a beautiful soul and a beautiful poet....so glad to see her featured here. Thank you Sherry!

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  18. Whenever i read Sumana's poetry, I feel I have been touched by her heart. Sumana is a wise and loving soul. Thank you Sherry for highlighting her here.

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    1. Your words are gold Myrna. Thank you so much dear friend.

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  19. Sumana you poetry is soulful and transcendent --such a gift you give all of us!

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    1. I always treasure your words Audrey. Thank you so much.

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  20. Luv Sumana's ACCEPTANCE and line where "night weird the stars for her"
    Luv the way she toys with words like every day is Christmas. It's always a joy to visit her blog and read her poems.

    Thanks Sherry for featuring her again

    Much love...

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  21. Sumana your work has such an honest, heartfelt vibe that it is always pleasing to read and I love that it showcases your culture. Sherry, a great selection here as always.

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  22. Sorry I missed this one ~ All of Sumana's poems are gorgeous Sherry ~

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