Shimmering Chimes by Maaya Dev
Publisher: Author Press, 2015
Price Rs. 195
Maaya Dev's debut anthology Shimmering Chimes is a wonderful collection of seventy poems that chime in with varied poetic moods of the poet. With two insightful forewords by the eminent literary personalities -- Ravi Subramanian and Dr. Santosh bakaya-- who have truly unveiled the poetic talent inherent in her, the book contains seventy poems, reflective musings over myriads of issues ranging from the devotion to God, nature, love, patriotism, spirituality, mysticism metaphysics and the innermost quest to explore the intricacies of life. Al the poems, soothing and symbolic, deserve to be enjoyed and , of course, highlighted with proper, finer and perceptive analysis. The poet herself reveals in the beginning that ‘Shimmering Chimes is a true reflection, an expression of experiencing various shades of life and emotions’, with ‘the sparkle of mood and feeling in the mystic fire of muse and struggle to bring forth a new emotive impulse or revelation.’ Devotion, mysticism and spirituality, nature and metaphysics are the recurring themes of her poems.
Maaya’s poems are soaked in devotional ocean of Krishna consciousness. The very first poem “ Hare Krishna” is dedicated to her inspiring force Krishna whom she meditates upon. Realising the transient nature of life and its beauty, she creates a mesmerising symphony of devotional hymns echoing out straight from her impeccable heart. She reverberates the same feel here –
Every time I meditate upon you
I feel a divine magical wand
resurface from nowhere.
There, I see a lucid reflection
smiling at me from inner mirror.
There I see You! I see me!
Ah! I see me in You!
In the vast ocean of life, Krishna is to her a sheet anchor and this is the reason why she sings His glory. She knows ‘Life is cacophony’ and wishes it to be a symphony of love, bliss and peace. She prays to Him to ‘Be my guide, help me glow’ as His ‘melodious flute/ emits endless delight’ through ‘Transcendental Devotion’. She is another Meera yearning for eternal communion with Krishna as for Him only , her ‘sacred craving weeps and swells / in the deepest core’ of her devotion. The poem “Sat Chit Ananda- Bliss" contains the essence of her devotion, the profound love for Krishna-
Like a prism, the spectrum around me sparkles
and darkness doomed with celestial spark.
Your holy touch resurrected and lifted my soul.
Upon merging with You, I escaped world of maya
I see my flesh dispersed into thin air as fume.
I submerged in Sat- Chit- Ananda- Bliss!
Nature is another major theme that finds a fantastic treatment in her poems. Her love for nature is reflective of her thoughts spilled out from the minute observation of nature and life alike in its cajoling lap. She seems to be under the direct influence of Wordsworth and Robert Frost. This can be witnessed in her poetry when she gives a vivid account of beauty of nature that soothes our sense and draws closer to the internal force of divinity. Nature inspires her and that’s why she states-
I stopped by the woods
Sat alongside the river
Whole serenity in muse
Tranquil sky in sync, channelizing breeze
Nature’s symphony, rainbows rehearsing
Koel’s cajoling, peacock dancing
moment juxtaposing moment
to beget life. (Beacon of Enlightenment)
Her poetry presents a majestic aspect of nature mystically radiant with celestial gleam. She depicts, in some of her poems, a beautiful glimpse of nature’s beauty with its heavenly splendor. The following lines are fantastic examples of stream of her consciousness-
I could feel invisible wings
taking me to higher levels
on the wings of aurora.
The tranquility led me
to fireworks of blissful moments.
I wish to remain there forever
While making it as my abode…! (Aurora and Avalanche!)
Like Wordsworth, she perceives a divine spirit pervading the objects of nature. She holds mystical view of pantheism. Nature is to her a mystical force that enlightens and ennobles her mind and soul.Inner transformation in her poetic self can be felt in her poems dealing with nature. Seeking inner and eternal tranquility, joy and comfort she often turns to nature that entails inner divinity. Spiritual aspect of nature always fascinates her with ‘timeless tale of eternity.’ She regards the natural world as ‘a masterpiece of God’s creation ' which enables us to undergo metamorphosis of heart and vision-
A sudden vision mirrored of a living being
Pristine truth surfaced! I am a human being.
I am on a verge of flight, with gusto I fly
and flutter like a butterfly, my dream, I comply (The Metamorphosis)
She successfully records her emotional response to the natural world.‘Rendezvous with Nature’, ‘Oh! Majestic Ocean’, ‘Humdrum of that Green Valley’, ‘Desert Rose’ etc deserve our attention for the embodiment of her poetic vision, elements of divinity and immense beauty of thoughts reflected through objects of nature.
Love and Romance, Longing and yearning
Love and romance prominently find wonderful expression in her poetry. Hers are poems of love, dreams, joy and sorrow, and nostalgic past. She doesn’t subscribe to physical passion of love; rather she is concerned with the profundity of feelings and intensity of sensibility with romantic exuberance. She reveals her yearning and longing in her poems. She compares love to ‘ a creeper’ that grows deeper in sealed silence of winter dreams. Pigment of her love, unexplored emotions lay in the dell unexplored. She feels 'an urge to taste the pungent is absent in the surge' and
Blazing pain fizzling heart
In the rare addiction
Of sweet indulgence. (Blazing Pain of Love)
Love provides a safety valve to the suppressed desires and pent-up feelings and emotions. She compares love to a canopy that gives out some comfort and refreshing moments to beat the heat of the painful world. She holds that love has a relieving power. She describes the healing power of love in these lines-
In the valley as I glide
I crave for the canopy
of your undisturbed vista
to cease my crazy anguish. (Love of My Love)
As a poet of love, she is very smart enough to give it sometimes some spiritual hues. She expresses her intense desire as ‘fossiled love”-
My real self camouflaged
in my strangeness
kissing off residual desires. (Escaping Ebony)
There is a melancholic strain and sadness of heart quite apparent in her poems. In times of sorrow and loneliness it is the feeling of love that brings smile on her face, solace to her grief-stricken heart. She lays bare her heart-
I am sad and alone
Feather of love came to rescue me
Suddenly a smile visited me. (Scattered Verses)
Feminism: Feminine Power
As a woman poet, she describes feminism better. She has portrayed woman on the larger canvass of her poetry. In her poem “A Living Enigma”, she speaks at length about the eternal and perennial power, glory and significance of woman whose enigma often baffles those who try to understand her through physical aspect of her personality. She tries her level best to delineate woman’s divine silhouette. She unwraps divinity in her- ‘an epitome, a living enigma of eternity’, with ‘pristine glow of moonlight, a perpetual fantasy’, ‘a poetry of a poet’. For the poet, woman is in fact an extended metaphor with multiple layers of meanings. The poet in her perceives in woman ‘an elixir of life’ –
“Woman, ‘A Living Enigma’
Lives in the evanescence of horizon
Who swims in unclaimed light
and shines as an elixir of life…!!”
Her sense of beauty finds an appealing manifestation in her poetry. She lays emphasis on the protection of woman’s dignity and beauty. She compares woman to a beautiful lily flower and with ‘an angel with golden wings’. She very minutely describes the evolution of her beauty, outer and inner-
A subtle journey from cells to embryo
where XY chromosomes merge divinely
embossing a girl’s gender magically. ( Womb’s Doomsday)
Woman is a metaphor and personification of love, romance and beauty and every poet’s dream. However, the poet is saddened to see the roving, preying and predatory, greedy eyes of sex vultures with sharp beaks, who are out ‘to brutally tear the flesh brimming with modesty.’ She brings to our notice her sad plight-
Her dawn bleeds to dusk and turned to a scary midnight
the darkness too failed to conceal her bareness.
Night suddenly possessed with nightmares
Her sleep is hanging on its noose as pangs. ( Womb’s Doomsday)
There is no end to her turmoil and suffering, exploitation unless the male dominated society comes to realize the primordial glory of woman. She questions-
How long the perverts rampage her femininity as if their rights?
What if she was ever their daughter, sister, wife or mother?
She also underlines the dual aspect of woman.If she is delicate, humane, compassionate and loving one time, when need be , she can turn into destructive force and sacrificing her divine power she can also cause doomsday of the world.
Poem, Poetry & Poet
Creation of poetic output through the silent process of ‘myriad thoughts’ that stimulate her senses has been demystified in her ‘refraining, refreshing, reforming’ poems. She feels ecstatic sense of joy and celebration after the birth of a poem with romantic imagination at its best-
“My heart sang, my soul danced
when my fingers merged the flow
of unsaid words to the obvious.
I remained ecstatic for a while!!” (Birth of a Poem)
Like Keats, she also believes in deriving pleasure in hearing the sweet melody of unsung verses fused with strings of symphony because “Unwritten words are breathing life!” She declares-
I dived deep into the serene hidden river.
It flows from its pure terrain with elegance.
I laid still with amusement and smiles
When passion of droplets splashing all over
whilst browsing virgin imagery in its waves. (Unwritten Poetry)
Her ideas about poetry are a celebration of sadness, solitude and nostalgia. She has catalytically turned them into ‘universal bliss’. Her passion for being a poet finds an amazing mention in the symbolical poem "Twinkle Twinkle My Little Poems"-
But for me you are my unborn poems
twinkling on the sky of my solitude.
Some day it shall blink as glitter stars.
My voice whispers to me in silence.
Her ‘World of Words’ is also a symbolic poem that has an allusion to the primordial sound –Brahma naad- of Creation that has ushered in the pictorial form of lore and learning, knowledge and realization. She reminds us of the dictum that ‘Word was with God and Word was God’. She repeatedly chants His hymns-
Oh Words! You were omnipresent, omniscient
Wisdom coated pearl beads on the golden thread
You glow as scriptures and the enlightenment
Blind the inkling of allusion laden vista. (World of Words)
She is exactly right when she says that a poet or a writer lives ‘alone listening to the chimes of ‘his/ her own ode and ‘swirling like Rumi in euphoric ecstasy’ despite saddening rejections. However, with due course of time, he/she has a resurrection as a poet or a writer.As a matter of fact, emotional exuberance finally leads to creation of a poetic destiny-
Heavy emotional downpour rewrites
the destiny of – An Unwritten tale. ( Blank Diary)
Writing is a process of inner evolution and progression, and manifestation of the conversation with self and this creative expression puts forth immense joy and aesthetic maturity and self-satisfaction. With the philosophy of Swantah Sukhaay, she expresses the sole objective of her writings -
Yes, I write because I love to
Not for anyone but for me
Not even to prove writing prowess
But to be with those moments
that converse with me naively. (How Silly!)
Metaphysics, Mysticism & Spirituality
There is an underlying note of mysticism and spirituality in her poetry. She uses concrete, visual images to exhibit her thoughts of subtlety and abstraction. She takes recourse in nature that provides her raw materials which she refines. It is mostly through them that she presents her views about the mysterious ways of life ‘beyond time and space.’ She underlines the way to unlock soul to have an awakening light of divinity with inner explosion of realization and transcendental experience-
Today I am somebody with name
Tomorrow I am nobody with flesh
While embracing the only truth left
I bid farewell to embark a fresh journey!! (The Last Call)
The poet is baffled at ‘the mysteries / and complexities of life’ tormented with pain, storm, hopelessness. However, despite all oddities of human predicament, she doesn’t lose hope and sanguinity of her strong self as she has unflinching faith in living each moment of life ‘unaffected’-
Life goes on… it flows…
without any guilt… (Life’s Quest)
Mysterious strains are quite palpable in most of her poems. A modern woman of high sentiments and sensitivity, with lots of love in her bosom, she always tries to demystify the mysteries of the world. She is concerned more with exploration of subjective world in the cosmic velvet of divinity. She rightly remarks:
It may reveal its destiny as testimony
through mysterious mist as saga. (Blank Diary)
Steeped in spirituality her poetry embodies her sense of inner illumination and enlightenment. Her Sense of awakening is reflected in these lines:
I am now a free soul
Reborn in the spiritual swirl… (Holy Bath)
In terms of depth of cardinal thoughts , her poetry is a kind of poetic extension of Shankaracharya’s Adwait Philosophy (Dualism). Like him she also underlines the fact that the outer manifestation of the world is a projection of illusion- maaya with its multi-layered garbs after unwrapping which appears the divine soul. She reveals the uncertainty theory of life as well-
Certain is thy uncertainty…!
Backyard of life, mystery disguised
You stand vulnerable as a clandestine haze
Masked beneath veil of life. (Uncertainty)
Realism, Escapism & Symbolism
With intensive study of her poems it is quite evident that she also falls prey to escapism.and falalism. Fatalistic view point of the poet is apparent in the following lines that express her futuristic apprehension-
As all emotions are frost in the compressed past
where chamber is sealed by the present
and key is lost in the depth of future. ( Blank Diary)
Fed up with stern reality of life, she sometimes wishes to turn away from the world of pain and pangs to the world of dreams for joy.
Let me live
in the space of
I am surrendering
my reality for a lie
I am in love with. (Unrealistic Glimpses)
Philosophy of Life
Her poetry is a fine articulation of philosophy of life. Live is lived in contrastive binaries of opposites. One aspect complements the other and hence life is supplemented with mixed experiences. Realization of this big reality is supreme with the poet. She reiterates the transient nature of life -
Oh fragile life!
You are the remnants
etched in the illusion
squeezing frail reality
from misty ruckus
in the mysterious shade. (Fireflies of Time)
Nevertheless, she believes in celebration of sorrow to experience soaring joy in life. She paints melancholy with joyous hues:
It reflects on cheeks as rainbow hues
masking the melancholy in its splendor ( Blank Diary)
She holds that life is beautiful and has to be lived with happiness in spite of all the temporal opposites as “A beautiful contradiction conceals all” (Scattered Verses). She compares life and love to a beautiful rose and this analogue is beautifully depicted here-
With sacredness heart promise its essence
that helps in germinate a unique ‘Desert Rose’
that blooms and never withers while withstanding
all kinds of insane desert storms… ( Desert Rose)
Dignity of mankind, human ability to rise again from debris of destruction like phoenix, singing of glory of man and the optimistic vision are other features of her poetry. Let us see for example-
As a phoenix risen from hopeless life
They sail through invisible wings with a will
to win infinite impossibilities of life
and head towards the trajectory of renaissance. (Ability beyond Disability)
Life is a bubble, a cosmic game played by God. The following lines remind us of Shakespeare’s remarkable lines- “Life is a tale/ told by an idiot/ full of sound and fury/ signifying nothing”:
Bubbles of birth
blow and burst
and wrestles with
falsehood riddles (The Cosmic Play)
There is also an element of patriotism in her poetry. The present plight of India disheartens her. The country is faced with multitudes of problems from terrorism, corruption, violence, rapes to mention a few. Humanity, love, peace and ideals and values of life are at receiving ends. Through her poem she pleads for protecting the pride and glory of mother India. Her utopian vision is quite remarkable in the poem ‘Plight of Mother India’ that presents a heart-wrenching and realistic picture of nation. She proclaims and exhorts us-
Let ‘Utopianism’ be our gift of love
for our mother India.
Everything said and done with the poems analyzed thematically, it is pertinent to mention here with a corrective approach that the anthology was required to undergo some serious proof-reading because even a small black spot mars the beauty. Some of her poems have stains of grammatical errors, though slight. They are- ‘heart promise its essence’ (page 31), ‘Wherever the shadow /of unfair rejection ensue’ (35),’Onlookers goes’ (85), ‘When endeavor boom’ (87), ‘ before the ocean waves gulps me’ (89), ‘before fire ashen me’, before the pyre flame my sins’(89), ‘But often fails to bring’ (90), ‘The silence produce sweet melodious notes’, that pulsates’….(93), ‘ The ebb and flow of your gentle breeze/ comfort my fatigue and returns my novelty’ (93). Hope in next edition, these errors must be rectified.
Maaya Dev's Shimmering Chimes is wonderful from all the perspectives Truly, in her style of writing there is some flirting between imagery and words, fusion and confusion, molding something concrete from abstract, shaping unshaped things of life, and uncertainty, a unique blending and unfolding to capture ‘invisibly visible’, and above all a beauty of oxymoron expressions. Thanks to the power of her strong diction and her gripping command over the language, she creates the oft-quotable lines like
As you are the words of words
Soul and verse of the Uni-verse’