Book Reviews

Sony Dalia's Graceful Green

“Writing poetry is a fascination for some, a passion for some others while it is a religion for many. A poet does not demand rewards or awards. A word of appreciation fills his hungry heart with manna” says Sonia Dalia, a former Professor of English. He is also a poet, translator and critic and was Visiting Fellow at Nagaland University in Nov 2005.
His first poetry collection Delightful Dawn is now followed with Graceful Green -  his second book of poetry - which he has dedicated to all his friends and fellow poets. It is a collection of 66 poems revealing his creativity and artistic nature.
‘Poetry, as declared by Shelly is the well-known passage describing the moments of literary creation, ‘is not like reasoning, a power to be exerted according to the determination of the will.’ This can be said about the poet after reading his poems.
The author seems to be greatly inspired by William Wordsworth, as most of the poems in the collection are based on nature. He fervently believes that, ‘poetry unites people, transgressing boundaries to create a congenial environment for co-existence with unmolested splendour of Mother Nature. A strong belief in the ability of man to lead a peaceful life motivates all right thinking people to pursue creative endeavour.’This shows that he is a great devotee of nature like Wordsworth.
There are many poems in the collection which are based on nature like, ‘Monsoon Showers’, ‘Splendour’, ‘God’s Gift’, ‘Circle’, ‘Collage’, ‘Modesty’, ‘Super Summer’, ‘Graceful Green’, ‘Journey’ and many others describing different aspects and situations of life. The very first poem, ‘’Monsoon Showers’ tells us about the consequences of monsoon on this earth, how people are overjoyed and benefitted by rainfall. He expresses his attitude in the following lines:

Monsoon showers refresh spirit
parched land opens up in hope
drops of rain reach or not
pleasure lies in anticipation!

This is the feeling of not of the poet only but of each and every individual who welcomes monsoon after dreadful summer. In the poem he has created a beautiful mystic atmosphere which has been carried on in other poems also. In the poem, ‘Succour’, he describes the rare friendship which is exists in nature, while in ‘Roots’ he shows his curiosity to know about his ancestors, as the lines indicates:

Every one longs to know
History of ancestors
Accomplishments, awards,
Rewards, recognition, notwithstanding.

He has also further expressed his views regarding the significance of knowing one’s own ancestors in the poem.
There are poems viz, ‘Dreams’, ‘Cosmic Dance’, and ‘Meditation’ which are symbolic in tone. Inspired by nature the poet has used natural phenomenon like rain, lightning, blue sky, moonlit sky, sparkling stars, fleeting clouds, clusters of fruits on trees, bald branches in autumn and drifting clouds as symbols to convey his feelings.
The poem ‘Another Day’ shows the poet’s concern for women, in ‘Pinch of Love’ he shows how to mend wayward men reflecting a woman’ love for her errant husband. As a world citizen, he has expressed his desire for the peace and prosperity of this world in the poem, ‘Prayer’ as he says:

Give every mouth a ball of rice
Let everyone live in peace!

He  has shown his deep love and concern for his country in many poems.India is a land of festivals and he has described about one of the important festivals of this country, Holi in poem, ‘Spirit of Holi.’ Holi, which is the festival of colour, has been described very beautifully by the poet as:

Friends and foes frolic in fun
every home turns Brindavan!
Spirit of Holi spreads across
earth and heaven sway in glee!

There is an increase in terrorism, which is the greatest threat for humanity. this is amplified by poet and he has expressed his concern in poems like, ‘Terminator’, ‘Retribution’ and ‘India 7/9/11.’ In all these poems, he has tried to show the disastrous consequences of terrorism. The poem, ‘Mera Bharat Mahan!’ expresses his deep respect for the women of his country. He has tried to highlight all the good qualities of the women of his country by comparing them with natural objects. The best example is when he has compared them with Mother Earth, as he says:

Here, women are Mother Earth
Patiently bearing, lovingly caring
Offers unlimited, demands never in sight
Mera Bharat Mahan!

In this way, he has not only praised women of his country but has also shown his gratitude towards  his motherland. In ‘Song that Stirred’, through describing lines of patriotic songs like Tagore’s ‘Where the mind is without fear’ and ‘Jana gana mana’ he has extensively praised his motherland.

Then in ‘Come Back Again’, he urges Mahatma Gandhi to come back again on this earth to rescue our country from the state of miseries as he has rescued us from British Raj. He expresses his wish in the following lines:

Dreams shattered, delusions galore
Parochial forces ruin the day
Straits of terror stretch across....
Oh Mahatma! Oh Maharishi! Come back again.

As Sony Dalia  belongs to the city of Hyderabad which is known for its culture and rich heritage, these aspects are  artistically described by him in the poem, ‘Hello, Hyderabad.’ He has described each and every aspect of the city.  We can trace his love in all the lines of it. And in ‘Hail the Heroes’ he is congratulating the heroes of Team India for their emphatic win in the Cricket World cup. In ‘Cataclysm’ he has shown his faith towards his country by praising it whole-heartedly.
The poet is extremely depressed by the present condition of society, where day-by-day people are becoming materialistic and their relationship is being replaced by electronic gadgets.  People are going away from their loved ones and are clinging more to these lifeless creatures. As the poet shows his regret:

In home T.V. a friend
Computer a companion
Mobile replaces mother
Father forgotten long back....

It is very pathetic to see the present condition of society, where feelings of  love, friendship and kinship are fading away. In the same poem, poet has used the symbol ‘Cacti’ to show the barren feeling of people. He thinks that human heart is becoming like cactus, as the plant is known for its toughness and hardness so as humans are becoming. In this way, he has taken the help of nature to portray the feelings of humanity. He conveys his thoughts:

Lonely branches, sapless leaves
Snapped roots stare in the face.

Here, he seems to be agreeing with the views of Mathew Arnold in his famous book of criticism, The Study of Poetry. Poetry according to Matthew Arnold is criticism of life. And this he interprets as the application of ideas -grand ideas- to life. In the same manner in ‘Intolerance’, Sony Dalia  focuses on  increase of intolerance and loss of faith.
The poet also seems to be inspired by William Blake, the precursor of romantic poetry as there is clear inclination of it in the poem, ‘Menace!’ The poem seems to be an inspiration of Blake’s ‘Tiger’ and this he has reflected in the lines also when he says:

Tiger! Tiger!
burning bright
in the forests of night!’
beholden are we to Blake!

Realizing the importance of ‘water’ in any individual’s  life and its its power, he has dedicated ‘Whose Right? Who’s Right?’  to it. There are other poems which are dedicated to some great personality whom he respects a lot viz ‘Sublime life’ to M. S. Subbulakshmi and ‘Diminution’ to Prof C. D. Narasimhaiah.
Mostly the poems in this collection are written in blank verse revealing poet’s sensitivity, creativity, craftsmanship and viewpoint. Many poems express his deep emotions for Mother Nature, his country and many other social and moral issues of grave importance. There is clear evidence of his being greatly influenced by nature. Wordsworth is called the  worshipper of nature; same can be said of Sony Dalia too as many poems in the collection are wholly or partially based on nature showing his deep love for it.

Graceful Green  by Sony Dalia.
ISBN no: 978-93-81032-07-7.
Prasoon Publication. Gurgoan-122001(Haryana).
Pages 72. Price: Rs150/  $ 6.00


More by :  Dr. Shamenaz Sheikh

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