Recently Shernaz Wadia from India and Avril Meallam from Israel made an experimet of writing poems on a specific theme individually and then fusing them carefully to make a third poem. Their efforts have been very successful and I had the honour to write a Foreword to that anthology. The Foreword follows below:
Can there be a sky without birds, a sea without tides, a rainbow without colours and girls in spring without dreams. Perhaps never, so also there shall be no poets without imaginations. On the screens of a sky, a sea, a rainbow and in the youthful hearts the poet often enacts Act 3 with peaks and climaxes of human life. Poetry is thoughts, says Thomas Gray, that breathes, and words that burn. It is also true that mind is a flow of thoughts. Thus, mind, thoughts and poetry are inter-related and provide a 3-D view of the society from sublime to mundane.
Here are two poets, eminent in their own right, Avril Meallem from Israel and Shernaz Wadia from India – a twain from the west and the east, have created magic in poetry by arresting their two minds and mixing the two flows of their thoughts. They have proved Rudyard Kipling, the great poet, wrong. Kipling scripted
Oh, East is East, and West is West and never the twain shall meet
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the end of the earth!
Avril and Shernaz are no two warriors with swords and shields. They are two delicate women with pen as their weapons. After a brief meeting in Mumbai their hearts struck the same chord, the wave lengths of their minds matched and the outcome is sublime poems – called ‘Tapestry Poetry’, an amalgamation, a confluence of two flows of thoughts, first composed independently and then combining both. This experiment by them has been widely accepted and lauded by critics and poets alike. This in fact is a mosaic of the rhythms of their emotions and the melodies of their dreams that transcend borders – a mosaic that is rare and unique, and yet fascinating and exciting. The two flows of thoughts like two rivers coalesce at the confluence to be one with same ripples and same murmur – a voice within a voice, a dream within a dream and a creation within a creation.
The ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ of Avril and Shernaz expresses their inner voice, the passage of time, the beauty of nature, the power of silence, unknown fear and many other attributes of life. The two sensitive poets are charmed and at the same time alarmed by the power of words:
Words – oh, how they can deceive!
Can distort the truth
Yet coming from
a place of love
their unleashed force
is a blessing
that can change the world (The Power of Words)
The poets express a hidden doubt,
‘Can my thoughts touch yours
on the same wavelength?
Enter your heart
as they flow from mine?’(On the same Wavelength)
without realizing that the sound and silence of their voice – humane and sublime,
‘Soar through the Universe
on a single song
a new purpose to fulfill’,
and ‘to procreate itself
in its celestial symphony.’ (Rapture)
If the world belongs to the Lord, the two poets create their small world – one (Avril) to merge with peace’ and the other (Shernaz) to ‘dive into the tranquility.’ (Beneath the Waves)
Though poets often live in a cloud-and-cuckoo land, the present duo are not only nature poets admiring trees and the sun, but are rooted to the ground,
‘Yet something holds me…
the roots that I have reposed,
Deep into the soft brown earth’ (Roots and Branches)
The poets have dwelt on the passage of time and have composed lovely poems, ‘Time stands still’, ‘Winter Sky’, ‘Spring’, ‘Summer Flowers’ and ‘Autumn’.
There is a strong undercurrent of philosophy when the poets think of their return journeys. Avril wonders if the soul has to go through several cycles, whereas Shernaz is confident of life morphing ‘into eternal life divine.’ (Coming Home). They leaf through their unwritten book, that is life, and wonder if the seedlings of life ‘will bud and bloom before the frost claims (I turn the page). Once again they are unsure of catching ‘a glimpse of divine’ ‘when the Gate opens’ (When the Gate Opens). In a significant move the poets ‘want to claim life back’ ‘from the grueling grind of existence’ by getting rid of attachments. (Embracing Simplicity).
Silence is golden, it is said. The poets do aspire for such golden
the sound of silence
secures my spirits.’ (The Sound of Silence)
The soul, the heart and wisdom (intellect) lead man in all his activities. Of these three, wisdom, a shining gem, hidden at great depths of the tender heart they discovered one day,
‘I found them again…
Each tear-drop a shining gem’ (Hidden Pearls)
Poets are seldom pessimistic. They always see a ray of hope.
In ‘Go Away’, the poets believe,
‘But it is not forever,
For I know well,
When the sun sets,
There will always be another dawn.’
Such thoughts and philosophy of life are reflected in a series of their excellent compositions, ‘As Dusk Falls’, ‘Cloudless Night’, ‘Travelling Through the Thicket’, ‘Crossroads’, and ‘In the Darkest Night.’
However, at the same time they are disappointed with the illusions of life,
‘Nothing is as it appears
In the play in which I’m acting.’
‘I see, I feel
I gloat I have found it!
Yet my voice
keeps searching for something.’ (Illusions)
When the evening of the life draws near, the poets instead of losing their hearts to enter the darkness, they fondly hope,
‘… you welcome me
with sparkling love
into Your world of Light.’ (Life’s Twilight Hours)
This positive outlook runs deep throughout the anthology and in all their compositions. In a very significant poem, ‘Opposite Attracts’, the poets realize that there is vast difference between them. They, ‘do not share the same religion, culture or history.’ One hails from the west and the other from the east, but their ‘love for each other brings us/together in distance.’
In silence, it is said, we connect ourselves with the Unseen. The poets do try to raise themselves into that realm of peace,
‘As silence croons to a fretful world
Come join me gentle souls
Aching hearts may find
deep calm in prayerful quietude’ (Rhythms of Silence)
In an attempt for self search the philosopher-poets ‘look inside’ to find ‘true essence’ and discover that ‘life is for joyful living’ and come together to sing,
‘Know the fire
That burns deep within
Wings aren’t given to be clipped
Break free, fly free and just be.’ (Be You)
At times unseen pain pervades life and sadness is heard in unspoken words. Yet beauty in life overrides and they wait for the glow of the glorious, ‘Come, let us see the sun rise.’ (Unspoken Words). Words are often fail to express the sublime emotions called love. A simple smile that blossoms in the eyes can be a poem to connect two souls,
‘beyond time and form, in the vastness of eternity’ (In Your Smiles).
These two women poets are aware of the plight of women and do lament over their suffering and sympathize with them,
She still toils, laughs, loves
In a woman’s world
of unfulfilled dreams.’ (Prison of Pain)
In recent time there is erosion of moral values. Corruption in high places has plagued the society. The poets are disenchanted, disturbed and show their deep concern,
‘These liars, marauders and thugs
have hearts no longer able
to discern the truth.’ (Corruption)
Terrorism and religious intolerance are the biggest menace of the present time, and more disturbing and woeful is that the younger people are being brainwashed to enter this deadly game. The sensitive poets decry,
‘All I pray for, all I yearn
is to comb out these weeds
of purulent diatribe
and plant afresh, flowers of love
in the woebegone garden
of humanity.’ (Seeds of Hatred)
Freedom is always a celebration for it dispels fear and head can be held high. The poets cherish fond hopes,
‘… a time is sure to come
When walls will break down
and all will join hands in joyful dance.’ (Celebrating Freedom)
To sum up, the anthology of ‘Tapestry Poetry’ by Avril and Shernaz opens a new vista and a new genre of poetry. The individual poems are very sweetly composed, and are amalgamated with great care and precision in order to heighten the effect. It has been a great pleasure for me to go though the anthology and I feel honoured to write a few lines on it. I wish all the very best to Avril and Shernaz in all their future endeavours.