The poems that have inspired me in my poetic journey

I have been a writer of prose, having already published two novels, “Wings of Freedom” and “The Full Circle: A Saga of Unrequited Love”. But since my childhood I have also been an admirer of poetry. I still remember nostalgically the great poets, whose poems had impacted my impressionable mind in school and college.

So, a renewed fondness for poetry and re-reading of the old poems inspired me to pen down some poems on topics dear to my heart and based on my life’s journey. And soon I had a collection of forty odd poems. I thought of sharing them with the readers and that’s how my first book of poetry “The Morning Glory” was born. I have described these thoughts in the Preface to the book.

I bring you a small garland of poems…
joining the multi-hued blooms,
in my life’s garden nurtured,
during my eventful journey of years,
to beget your love and cheers.

By way of this blog, I would like to allude to some poems that have fascinated me since my childhood with a brief write up on the poets or poetesses.

The first poem is Toru Dutt’s “Our Casuarina Tree” that I read in my school. The opening stanza of the poem captures the nostalgia of the poetess for the beauty of the Casuarina Tree near which she used play in her childhood with other children in the family and her friends. It reads as below:

LIKE a huge Python, winding round and round
The rugged trunk, indented deep with scars,
Up to its very summit near the stars,
A creeper climbs, in whose embraces bound
No other tree could live. But gallantly
The giant wears the scarf, and flowers are hung
In crimson clusters all the boughs among,
Whereon all day are gathered bird and bee;
And oft at nights the garden overflows
With one sweet song that seems to have no close,
Sung darkling from our tree, while men repose.

The imagery of the Casuarina tree (having its leaves as a horse’s mane and known in India as ‘Jungli Jhao’) by the poetess as a majestic giant, gallantly carrying a python-like creeper and wearing the colourful scarf of crimson flowers is quite enchanting. The charm is further accentuated by the depiction of birds and bees sheltered in the tree and the sweet music that flows in its environs in the night while all are sleeping.

Toru Dutt (1856-1877) was a great poetess of India, who with her grooming as a linguist wrote in English and French. Even though she had a short life span, she contributed substantially to literature by her writings in both these languages, some of which were also adaptations from Sanskrit.

More in my forthcoming blogs about other poets who inspired me.

Ratan Kaul