Book Title: Leaves of Autumn and Other Poems
Language & Pages: English & 177 pages
Available On: Amazon.in, ₹ 295 (paperback) and Free on Kindle Unlimited
Life is an amalgamation of a million things. Emotions, experiences, prejudices, impressions; both good and bad, and all the shades in between. This book is a representation of that life. It is not divided into two or three or four sections, it is a continuous journey of verses spilling from one poem to the other much like our lives.
No one knows what tomorrow will bring, just as a reader you will not know what the next poem will be. It keeps you guessing, engaged, and entertained much like life. The poems range from happiness to sorrow, anger to grief, questions to answers, nature to nurture, injustice to introspection.
These (mostly) free-verse poems come directly from the poet’s heart. And, you can see how she is affected and invested in each one of them. These one hundred and twenty-four poems and eight tiny verses are dyed and made brighter or darker – as the case may be – by the poet’s experiences, observations, and desires.
In the very first poem, which lends the book its name, she imagines –
I imagine my poems,
Giving peace and pleasure,
Being remembered, for a long time,
Lying like a forgotten treasure,
In the minds of a few readers.
Her keen sense of observation in poems like The Reality, Chasing the Wind, and Supine showcase her deep understanding of contemporary society.
When falsehoods are told,
When they remain inactive,
When violence is instigated,
Then the nation becomes morally weak,
And everyone suffers.
Her anger and helplessness at the injustices and disregard for life, values, or craft are reflected in poems like Homeless, Village Artist, Are These Good Days? In the poem Anger, she lists things that make her angry, and then she raises the pertinent question –
All these things fill me with helpless anger,
And the question remains,
When will we become a civilized society?
Then there are poems that showcase her maturity and understanding of this life. These poems delve into the transcendence of our lives and the acceptance that all beings cease to exist one day and things that we should do before we pass away in poems like Rivers Flow Within Me, Before the Final Goodbye, and Sunset of Life. The ending of the poem Sunset of Life can be our life mantra.
It teaches us
The futility of anger,
Hatred and jealousy.
It teaches us to how to
Into the darkness,
Spreading mellow light
And color and calmness
As we go.
Her poems on positivity fill us with the strength to go on like We Shall Overcome, Hopes In Fears and Dangers. The poem Stop Suffering and Start Living is just wonderful advice for all who are feeling down–
Life can be beautiful,
Find your patch of sunshine,
Decide to be cheerful,
And you will be fine.
Then there are nature poems, vivid and full of imagery like The Beautiful Yellow Moon, Unpolluted Earth, Nature’s Symphony –
We are surrounded by
Nature’s wonderful music,
A complex orchestra fantastic,
The twittering of birds,
The buzzing of bees,
The wind in the trees,
And the rustling of leaves.
And so the poem continues…
You will also find poems steeped in sadness; Moon and The Unfinished Story. The poem One Last Time, is so heart-wrenching that you want to reach out to the woman in the poem and tell her to persevere just a little longer, that things couldn’t be as bad as she feels they are –
The terrible noise in her head would stop,
She was so so tired of being strong,
And of putting up a facade.
The waves were closing over her head.
And she was feeling peaceful, thankful,
Then there are the quintessential love poems tugging at your heartstrings – My Heart Belongs to You, Intoxication of Love, That Evening When I Saw You –
I must have done something good,
This I have fully understood,
You are my blessing from heaven,
Without you nothing can happen.
Amongst all the serious and soul-searching poems there are a few surprises. Poems that are full of humor and quirkiness like Onomatopoeia, The Making of a Poem, and The Hair Story. The latter had lines that just resonated with me and made me smile –
You forget the difference between
Good hair day and bad hair day,
You just plait it somehow,
And in this lockdown
Who bothers anyway?
There are so many other wonderful poems, coming of age poems, introspective poems, poems where she questions why and how of this world; all giving us a glimpse into the mind and life of the author. The poems will engage you and make you feel, or ponder or agree with the poet’s thoughts, you will not remain unaffected by them. With these one hundred and twenty-four poems, you will find something to read every day. Some of the poems are accompanied by paintings done by her granddaughter, that add color to the poet’s words. Keep the book by your bedside and flip a page or two before slipping off to slumberland.
Vasudha Pansare retired as Head of Department of English, Bishop Cotton Women’s Christian College, Bangalore. She is enjoying her retired life to the fullest and I hope and pray that she finds more and more incidents, topics, and anecdotes to commit to verse and we get to read her third book soon.