By Remigius de Souza
I came across Saima Afreen’s poem on Internet – a world-wide-wilderness. The reason for ‘why is ‘how’. That is to say ‘means is goal’. For example in my wanderings of tens of thousand of miles aimlessly the means and goal is wanderings. I wouldn’t call it a chance, or coincidence, or destiny, or providence or probability; these are futile concepts that create confusion and add to the chaos, which is overbearing.
Two Words is the poem that I saw:
On the sheetSimple words, simple imagery, few words, no acrobatics, and no jugglery of any kind: that is how I describe her poetry. It is very difficult to be simple that is also elegant. She writes Urdu, Hindi and English poems; a flavour of Urdu is found on English in her poems; I am not talking about figures of speech etc.; I speak of figures of mind – thought and feeling; that is what makes Saima’s poems unique. At times I feel if Saima writes a poem or poem writes her.
With the ink
Of Black Night
One dripped to meet the ocean
And as the Moonlight prepared to
In the pool of dew-drops
The other one
Covered up the blue sky...
The poet goes beyond gender, even in her feminine poems; gender in the male chauvinistic civilised societies even to this date.
Afreen’s poems take me from gross physical level to cosmic heights. I would describe her poetry in two words: Cosmic Reach. No mincing words. it is the quality over quantity. A couplet may last forever. The couplet from her verse in Urdu, for example has a quality of a proverb:
Hazaron dastaanein likhee gatin jis key seeney pe
Aaj us bekas zamin ka no koi quadardaan apna hai.
(On whose chest thousands of tales have been written
Today that helpless Earth has no patron of her own.)
See -Text . The translation from Urdu is by Saima Afreen.
In the English translation Saima uses a word ‘patron’ for ‘quadardaan’, which disturbs my oriental sensibility. Perhaps there is no equivalent for ‘quadardaan’ in English. This problem is usual while translating from a language of one culture to a language of another. It happens in comprehending even works of other arts.
My experience is that Saima’s poems give me, as a reader, space and freedom to move in many directions. It evokes compassion in mental space alike a flower that opens and spreads its fragrance in the cosmic space and evokes contemplation, whether I am alone or in a crowd of hurry and hustle of metropolitan urban-scape.
Saima’s poems are antidote for those lost in the modern crowd and clutter, bombardment of information and consumerism. For a tramp, a homecoming: an oasis in the modern wilderness.
Her Urdu blog “Caravan”, which is in Roman script, is a welcome addition. I wish Saima could add also Urdu script for the delight of readers worldwide. Urdu /Arabic script is a calligraphic art form like in Japanese. I have witnessed it carved by Indian artisans on several mosques in India during my pilgrimage; they mould letters and stones at will. It is delightful experience, though I can’t read the script. Now that technology facilitates, adding a voice will be another treat.
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.