This award-winning Indian’s poem collection is all about the soul, nature and love
Lily Swarn’s A Trellis of Ecstasy is a book you can reach out to for hope and solace.
If you have a keen love for the verse, especially free verse, you would surely be familiar with the contemporary Indian stalwarts, like Santosh Bakaya and Pramila Khadun. Lily Swarn may have just joined these illustrious ranks by winning the Reuel International Prize 2016, but her words have the gravity that many seasoned poets lack.
Swarn’s reputation has been building for quite a while, thanks to her publications in prestigious places like Songsoptok, Atunis, etc. And now, she has just released her first collection of poems, A Trellis of Ecstasy (AuthorsPress; Rs 395).
Apart from her prize-winning works, Swarn’s collection of poems gives us a glimpse of something even closer to her heart than you might imagine: The poetry that she wrote right after the loss of her young son, Gobind Shahbaaz Singh, who succumbed to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2013.
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“The shock left me bewildered,” Swarn writes. “God had his holy ordinance in place. It was surreal, and I moved mechanically as if under a spell. My heart was in shards as if shrapnel had pierced it in a million places. How, then, would I ever live in a house empty of his voice, his laughs? The sobs that racked my body could not be suppressed. One day I picked up my laptop and tapped out my shrieks on the tiny screen. Soft rain drenched my innards and a dam broke…
A sigh sneaked out from my heart’s rubble
And mingled with the monsoons
Tempests thrashed against jagged cliffs
And washed ashore the breakers.
Words were my best friends. Poetry spilled out of me. I conversed deeply with my own soul and found hidden reservoirs of strength hitherto undiscovered.”
Lily Swarn’s new book, A Trellis of Ecstasy.
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As one can imagine, the words that emerges out of a crisis–whether emotional or physical–tend to have all the despair, hope and strength a human being has. And that’s precisely what Swarn manages to showcase throughout her book, because every single poem derives from life experiences.
Even when she writes about mythological characters like Aphrodite and Draupadi (Aphrodite and Why Fret?), Swarn manages to compare them to contemporary life in such a way that you could never think of them as alien to your everyday mundane lives. She also captures the essence of abstract feeling like hope like this:
Glimmers of hope
Playing hop scotch
Frozen shoulders of allure
Tantalising the diva hidden
Of course you would be pulled in by her works. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy reading poems much, there’s a high chance you’ll enjoy Swarn’s work. The reason? She has masterfully represented the pain and pleasure of being human in free verse that is very easy to understand.