Thursday, April 30, 2015

NPM - Day 18 (Finale)

The motivation for the NPM series is to celebrate April 2015 -- the National poetry month (hence NPM in the title), by sharing a favorite poem of mine every day of this month, starting April 13, 2015.

It is the last day of NPM series and I am far from sharing all my favorite poems on this blog. There are multiple reasons for this --- I started out late in this month on April 13, then due to my far from perfect multi tasking skills I defaulted on 5 out of 18 total days at hand, and finally and most importantly, there are definitely many more than 18 pieces to share.

In any case, I have really enjoyed this stroll in the world of poetry this month. In the process of researching some of the details for pieces that I like and posted about, I actually discovered some new  gems. Plus after a long time I made a serious effort to reconnect with poetry. So these past 2.5 blogging weeks have been really great!

There are two poems  -- one in Hindi and the other in Urdu, both by poets who have superstar status in the world of Indian poetry.
1. Madhushala by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. There are translations available on the web, for more often quoted portions of this long poem, but I have not been able to find a credible translation of the full piece yet!
2. Aurat by Kaifi Azmi (with translation) -- a recitation by the poet himself is available on YouTube (Highly recommended)

I resisted the temptation to post them mostly because I have already talked about both of them in the past on this blog (here and here). Nonetheless, since I cannot conceive any collection of my favorites from poetry to be complete without them, I definitely need to mention them in this finale.

In addition to the poets whose works I posted as part of the NPM series, I have really enjoyed poems by Sahir Ludhianvi, Jaishankar Prasad and Mahadevi Verma, in Hindi and Urdu. Amid English poets, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Rabindranath Tagore and Oscar Wilde are some of my favorites too.

So to conclude, here is the last poem of the NPM 2015 series on Ankasya. It describes a young bride being carried in a palanquin to her husband's house. The words of the poet delicately capture the vivid beauty of the scene, the tumult of emotions (of the bride), the rhythm (of the palanquin) and evoke an enduring image from the memory --- some reasons why reading poetry is always such a special experience!

Palanquin Bearers

-- Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,

We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

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