Wednesday 10 February 2021

Four Brilliant Poems by Sultana Raza

 



Keen on Tolkien

 

In trenches, he dreamt of unusual worlds,

To the dictionary, gave new words.

 

Remarkable languages were first to come,

Perhaps in the Battle of the Somme.

 

Complex dialects were soon created,

Then various worlds in which they were fêted.

 

Wasn’t meant to be read as allegory,

Just as a fantastical, fictive story.

 

With obscure races of men and trees,

To Elves and dwarves, it gave new lease.

 

At magical realms, one marvels and gasps,

Have subtle connotations that later one grasps.

 

Aloof and regal, the women seemed to be,

Inspiring, instigating, were the plot’s key.

 

Ancient lines of fine men grave,

Their world desperately who tried to save.

 

Magical tools unexplained by science,

Born of Nature’s and mind’s alliance.

 

Elves from stars brought far-off news,

His worlds had various scents and hues.

 

Multi-dimensional was his approach,

Prickly topics could easily broach.

 

Heroes’ minds, intricate and rich,

With complex plots, could easily stitch.

 

Has been construed in a thousand ways,

New generations it tends to amaze.

 

Explores details of human nature,

In Man’s psyche, gives an aperture.

 

Back stories stretched for thousands of years,

Still relevant for mechanized fears.

 

Humans and nature, fuel and steel,

We ride the same old karmic wheel.

 

Can Nature prevail over Man’s iron will?

Cause the crash of industrial hill?

 


Previously published in Ancient Heart Magazine (2012), also in the Silver Leaves Journal (issue 5, 2013), Beyond Bree (2013), and the Oxonmoot 2020 Anthology (available only to Oxonmoot Delegates).

 

Tolkien’s Legacy

 

Novel tongues were his first creation,

Then came lands in which they could function.

 

Composite types of hobbits and trees,

One’s curiosity which tend to tease.

 

Inspired by legends of north and west,

Yet, eastern elements he couldn’t divest.

 

A new myth to his country gave,

Faced with critics, was firm and brave.

 

War, loss and fate played a big role,

A universal story he managed to unroll.

 

Summarised European thought as a whole,

But can touch every race’s soul.

 

One’s imagination his books always free.

More deeply the self can one see.

 

Complex the mind of the author,

Goes to the heart like a skilled archer.

 

His era and upbringing shaped his worldview,

Yet each generation enjoys it anew.

 

For every period has the same value,

By it, our psyche we can construe.

 

Images, messages for our inner mind,

With deep meaning the story is lined.

 

If one re-visits, one tends to tarry,

Despite the ghouls and monsters scary.

 

Humans with wisdom, it imbues,

To our reality, holds many clues.

 

 

Previously Published on Silver Leaves Journal (Issue 5, 2013), the Oxonmoot 2020 Anthology (available only to Oxonmoot Delegates), and Amon Hen December 2020.

 

Note: the two poems above are in remembrance not only of JRR, but also Christopher Tolkien, who did a lot to expand his father’s Legendarium, by publishing numerous related books.



Epitaph

Juggling germs, compassion’s lack,
Osmosis of senses with mind, had a knack.
Had to over-write hard glass of sand,
Navigate blockades by the Moirae planned.

Knocked by blows from critics and kin,
Eagerly, ardently, with purse thin,
Against dark vortexes, managed to strive,
To make Hellas sing, old urns come alive.

Survived crushing blows, in blacks and blues,
Lived on scraps, though had rich muse.
Interred under odds that proved too great,
Visions helped stave sick misery’s weight.

Elegant verses spiralled off page,
Sonnets, odes cryptic; can’t fully gauge.

 

-The End-

Note: Previously published on The Classical Poets Society in 2017. John Keats died on 23 February 1821 in Rome.


 


Orphic Crown

 

I

 

Could she cradle weary head, mid-night,

Wipe his brow with cascading hair?

Whispering softly in sinuous robe white,

About her stray dog, does she still care?

 

Bearable, in cruel sphere, made his sojourn,

For soft soothing sounds, as he longs,

How to tame days, could he still learn?

Moist eyes, lips; his grey gloom throng.

 

Is Cupid castigating him, for quitting her realm?

Slivers of remorse, slice his shrinking core,

Envisioning bleak smile, his eyes overwhelm;

Wishes tender scent, could touch at least once more.

 

Her patient devotion had he misunderstood?

Of feeble fingers penning so, there’s no likelihood.

 

 

II

 

 

What he wouldn’t give for quiet smile, stilled tea?

Remembering his grin, would discreet eyes glow?

At least for a while, salty drops would flow;

Yet, in lost, dreamy eyes, roamed her restless sea.

 

Could he have cherished her, had she been free?

Under her care, would his basil plant grow?

To his first bright star what would he owe?

Could her heart been unlocked by a golden key?

 

Has she fortified him with drips of hazy hopes?

Docile, yet turbulent, their hours had been sane,

Into keening emptiness, weakly he gropes.

She’d shaped time, so perfumed would cage remain.

 

Driven away from Guinevere, Lancelot grieved,

Contrary planets their paths had quickly cleaved.

 

 

III

 

 

On cold, dreary isle, a few friends for him cared,

Does discreet Isabel of him still think?

Perhaps this torture, he could’ve been spared.

Under watchful care would’ve liked to sink.

 

Subtle airs, tunes whispered of her scent,

No siren, no mermaid, just a gentle soul,

Serene, patient ear she’d always lent.

At least she’d treasured his unfinished scroll.

 

Would she preserve his memory intact?

Plucking poems from air his favourite sport.

To his early demise, how would she react?

Such fine rhymes very few could court.

 

At least she knew his real value.

Would she water his memory with tears true?

 

Note: This poem has been excerpted from my manuscript Stake in Eternity, inspired by the lives of Romantic poets.

-     


 

Sultana Raza has an MA in English Literature. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in Literary Yard, countercurrents.org, Litro, impspired, pendemic.ie, Gnarled Oak, Kashmir Times, and A Beautiful Space. Her 100+ articles (on art, theatre, film, and humanitarian issues) have appeared in English and French. An independent scholar, Sultana Raza has presented many papers related to Romanticism (Keats) and Fantasy (Tolkien) in international conferences.

 

Of Indian origin, Sultana Raza’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Columbia Journal, The New Verse News, London Grip, Classical Poetry Society, spillwords, Poetry24, Dissident Voice, and The Peacock Journal. Her fiction has received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train Review, and has been published in Coldnoon Journal, Szirine, apertura, Entropy, and ensemble (in French). She has read her fiction/poems in India, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, England, Ireland, the US, and at CoNZealand.



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