Poetry Books with a Difference

I would like to share these poetry books with you, which touched me deeply:

41NExciOU6L._SR126,200_Stranger Paths: The Magic in the Madness Poetry Collection by R.J. Zarkani speaks eloquently about war-torn Iraq and the eternal emotional bruises that a little girl carried within her, wondering why her father told her to get inside when she wanted to see the “fireworks making a day out of night,” – a child’s perspective about war.

All the pearls in this book belong to the same string that broke and scattered. Zarkani’s yearning to meet the child who “swallowed the smoke” and got lost in the explosions didn’t wane years after she migrated to an alien land, in search of peace and freedom. Roots pull her; stars and the clouds appear familiar but there is a strange disconnect that seems inexplicable, as she was told “you don’t look like a terrorist!”

Superb imagery that R.J. uses blends in her reflections about “creatures crawled out of her book,” a book that calls her, visions that haunt her, images of the past linger, fairies that lived on her kitchen sink still sing; memories stand before her, trying to sweep her away into the world she still loves… ‘shoes filled with mud’ seem dearer… ‘rain in the desert’ – a childhood memory returns as Raghad writes the poignant story of the moments she treasures.

41TYVhHDryL._SR133,200_Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey by Forrest Stepnowski is a brilliant anthology of blank verse and a short story that dwells on the hope of being accepted the way one is… “To be my own star.” It gives voice to all those persons of LGBTQ community, who slip into the abyss of self-loathing because of orthodox, judgmental society that spews hatred against them, declaring them “gay,” “immoral” and “abnormal.”

Each poem in this collection makes a poignant appeal to the society to understand the pain and ridicule that they have to undergo because of the apathetic attitude of the people around them, who push them into the closet, compelling them to face “The silent horror of being” and are forced to snub “the darkest secrets” but who crave for love to lead a normal life.

This is a distressing journey of emotional upheavals, a clarion call to find their own voice and light by breaking free from the shackles that threaten to suffocate them, by accepting that strength lies within. This book must be read by everybody as it contains profound words for those who look down upon other human beings.

51h1UkHNvmL._SR125,200_‘Open a New Door’ by Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle is a collection of poems, inspired from life in Africa and people who make it good, bad or ugly. All aspects are portrayed in a plausible manner.

Both Kim and Robbie have a similar style of writing blank verse, some of the themes too are identical. Realism is the hallmark of their poetry, as they talk about life and people in clear words; imagination takes a back seat. Deeply moved by poverty around her, Robbie has highlighted it in many poems. If ‘The Boys under the Bridge’ brings out the plight of the homeless youth, The Silver Lining underlines the uplifting spirits of a youngster carrying a load of recyclables with abandon, The Beggar’s Child mocks at the apathy of the passers-by but ‘The Golden Light’ focuses on helping the underprivileged children of a school in a squatter camp with books – a wonder gift for them.

Kim seems to be an ardent animal lover because many of her poems celebrate wild life and give a vivid description of how a cheetah hunts its prey, how mother cheetah nurtures her cubs, how a lion lies on golden grass, even her Utopia mentions “stamping buffalo.” Iconic South African birds too catch her attention to inspire a poem. The opening lines of ‘Lessons Learned in a rural village’ seem to be inspired from William Blake’s poem ‘The Little Black Boy.’

Some of the poems are too personal and comment on how life unfolds, offering unforgettable memories, moments of exhilaration and dismay, travails of a working mother and insecurities of an empty nest but they all make life worth living. Heaviness of this book would linger around you even when you finish and put it away.

Thank you for reading this post. Do you have a book in mind that has touched you deeply? Please share your reflections.

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– Balroop Singh

 

 

Could You Please Guide Me?

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A long road…Empty!
As I walk through the road
Strange fears confuse me
I stare into wilderness
Straining my eyes,
Full of expectations….
I trudge on.
Is this journey endless?
Is there no destination?

I took this path
I knew it was thorny
I stumbled, I moved on…
Enduring all the pricks, the pain
Undeterred, hoping….
We’ll surely meet…One day….
You will recognize my face
You will acknowledge my contribution
You will welcome me to my destination.

I reached…I waited…
When will I enter?
I wondered…
‘Keep the baggage out!’
I looked around
‘But I don’t have any!’
Confounded, I looked around
The door didn’t open.
I waited………
When will I enter?
‘Have patience’,
A fleeting thought…

So I stood at His door.
I looked around
Why am I alone?
I couldn’t find anyone familiar
A sea of faces,
A whirlpool…kept pulling me
‘Calm down’
I told myself.
Could you please guide me?
I asked a stranger
A smile, a pat…
The only reassurance!
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

One of my earliest poems, this is an excerpt from my book Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh. Please click on the link to read more such poems.

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Dead End?

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Attracted by the rosy path
Littered with little primroses
On both the sides…
I took this journey.

It seemed so fascinating
To tread the unknown trail
How could I forget the elation…
The warm words of assurance!

Words…empty words?
Leading me into unknown ventures
Little help, just soft silence…
Pretense of leading, guiding.

This seems to be the dead end
Alone in the wilderness…
Staring at the desolate way
Congregating courage to trudge.

I sit gagged, staring into space
Towards the wilderness
The horizon so close
The rainbow so alluring

Forgetting that rainbow is transitory
And the horizon – a delusion
I still move on!
Who can question my mettle?

Who can doubt my optimism?
Who can distrust my capabilities?
Of making new pathways
Dead end is nothing but an illusion.

©Balroop Singh

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You can click on Sublime Shadows Of Life to read more such poems.

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One-Year Journey…And It Continues!

First Anniversary

I shall be completing one year of blogging this week and so far this flight on the wings of words has been the most pleasant one. It has given me those precious moments of creative relaxation, which I had always yearned for in my extremely busy hours of life.

It was never on my mind that I would write a blog one day or I had so many moods, emotions and words to express my feelings. A person of few words, I always found poetry a more suitable genre of expression.

When I took the plunge, it was more out of impulse.

The number of blogs and the competition bewildered me.

Yet I found some calm and complacent bloggers, who find pleasure just in writing and guiding. They have been my biggest encouragement.

The Enticement:

My journey started one fine day when I stumbled upon a very inspiring blog and the beautiful reflections were so appealing that I couldn’t resist the temptation to share my thoughts. I am referring to:

IMG_Sandra_Outside-Croppedhttp://alwayswellwithin.com, managed by my loving, spiritual friend Sandra Pawula writer, teacher, and champion of mindfulness and ease. She helps people who are willing to think deeply and look within to find peace, happiness and freedom.

Her articles have the magic to transport you into her company, give you the privilege of basking in her spiritual journey, flow slowly with her enchanting words and feel… all is well, all around us and within us! She has truly changed so much within me, with her words. No words of gratitude are enough for her as she helped me discover an unknown aspect of my personality.

How I learnt to blog:

Ramsay_Blog_TyrantOne day, while reading one of the articles at her blog, I came across a comment by www.Blogtyrant.com and got inquisitive. I visited this blog and his inspiring words were so infectious that they infused a new wave of confidence in me. I felt that I too could learn to blog. His step-by-step guidelines and advice was so effective and encouraging that I was actually able to create this platform to give vent to my emotions. No wonder his blog is amazingly busy! Thank you Ramsey for revealing all the tech jargon in a very simple language.

I found the music of my soul here:

W3WpGsaA_400x400http://positiveprovocations.com totally draped and swathed with positivity, always living up to its name, Zeenat Merchant Syal is the zeenat (glory) of this blog, which is her ‘little piece of Heaven.’

She strives for a happier, more loving and positive world in and around her. She inspires and motivates her readers to be the best and the happiest. She is a practicing counseling psychologist, spiritual counselor, motivational speaker, naturopath, holistic healer and a writer.

Zeenat’s mesmerizing words of robust optimism and tenacious positivity impel you to visit her the moment she updates her blog. Her soft and gentle nudge awakens you out of your slumber to realize that with loving care, positive thoughts and actions everything can be achieved, personally as well as professionally.

And I found the wings:

Harleena-SinghBy now I had learnt the tricks of hopping from one blog to another and I came across an amazing friend, Harleena, ‘the Queen Blogger’ and for the first time I saw that blogs could be so organized and blogging can be a serious business.

www.aha-now.com, a haven of personal development and self-improvement is managed by Harleena, who is a positive thinker, a freelance writer and benevolent beyond belief. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on family, relationships, health, and myriad other aspects of life. She is an anchor for all those who want to solve the problems of their life in a realistic manner. No wonder her popularity in the blogosphere is unparalleled. Her unstinted support has given wings to ‘Emotional Shadows.’

My first steadfast friend:

Mike-And-Phoenix-About-Me-Pic-300x300He visited my blog when I didn’t have any friends; when I was still stumbling and wavering, when I didn’t know how to build up communications. I am extremely thankful to Mike and Phoenix, for being an embodiment of genuine friendship. I value it immensely.

Mike Vogler of http://pastmycurfew.com, who calls himself ‘a night owl’, has been my first committed friend and follower who always encouraged me with his thoughtful words. His son and soul mate, Phoenix, his golden retriever, who activated his energies, watched him with the most sensuous expression in his eyes when he sits at his keyboard, writing about places he’d like to visit, food he’d like to eat, and reflecting on the crazy things that happen in his life. His pictures speak more than his words! The food he cooks and the way he enjoys his cooking can beat the best of chefs! Phoenix, his most doting confidante always looked at him as if to ask why he is so passionate about every little detail and why he keeps writing so late at night!

Sadly Phoenix was snatched away recently by the callous monster – cancer, though both Phoenix and Mike fought fiercely against it.

How I learnt to communicate in blogosphere:

BlogPostPhotoThrough aha-now.com, I found another wonderful friend, Adrienne Smith – ‘the Engagement Superstar’…the Empress of Cordiality… and a totally new world unfolded before me when I visited www.adriennesmith.net. As soon as I signed up for her newsletter, I realized how communications are built. Her warmth can leap up to you through her words and her altruistic outlook can infuse a new spirit into your thoughts. She thinks she was born to help people and they keep streaming into her blog to learn how to be successful, how to build such an engaging community, why she has so many return visitors to her blog.

Then I met the Wisdom Guru!

b363bb323060b10dab99bbb2876abaafI would also like to express my deepest gratitude to Vishnu, of http://www.vishnusvirtues.com – an online wisdom-filled sanctuary. I was attracted to his site due to the unique name and was not disappointed! True to his name he is not only providing enlightenment and support to all those who get in touch with him but also preserving all that can be salvaged from their broken dreams to bring clarity and purpose to their life.

Vishnu speaks from his heart and his words always touch your soul. The pearls of his wisdom have been recorded in the annals of ‘Emotional Shadows’ too.

I have met many more wonderful friends like you and so my journey continues with the support of each one of you and all those silent admirers who visit my humble abode of creativity.

I look forward to the support of each one of you. Your feedback is a valuable asset; please keep contributing your insights.

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Balroop Singh