I am thrilled to have read The Power of Words, a poetry collection written by Binod Dawadi from Nepal and edited and written by Sydnie Beaupre from Canada. This collaboration of two poetic souls has created indelible marks on the sands of modern literature.
But it can also destroy human beings,
By its anger,
This is because human beings are,
Making earth their puppet and playing with it. (Earth) ( 24)
The above-mentioned poem titled “Earth” is a critical tribute to mother earth. In this collection, there is a poem on war that calls for peace. The poems in this collection are comfortable, beautiful, not difficult to understand, and peaceful. Readers of any age can find this book graspable. The book stands with the idea that discrimination between race, caste, and gender should be stopped. There is a path of guidance that is illuminating in this collection. Very precise and nurtured words take us on a different journey in this book. Life is one and everyone has a precious life. When a poem is mentioning about life, it feels as if the larger-than-life idea is present in the depth of the poem.
Some spiritual elements are also present in this collection. There is a poem titled “Pancha Maha Bhautus.” The meaning of Pancha is also clarified in the poem which means five elements like fire, air, water, space, and earth that is found in ancient Hindu Scripture. Mentioning these elements shows how universally the poet thinks and perceives. He sees the world through his spiritual eyes and incorporates universality. How fire is defined as a god in the Sanskrit language is also considered. This pious understanding of Binod Dawadi as a poet is his brilliance.
If you bathe in religious waters,
All your sins will be forgiven,
By God. (Pancha Maha Bhautus).
The poet is defining every five elements of the Pancha including water, fire, air, space, and earth. The description is refreshing. It gives us wisdom and knowledge. Poetry is equally performing that task, here in this collection. The affection of words binds us as readers and it is equally motivating.
Space is nothing but,
A vacuum but it has energy,
Things called Gods, and spirits live in. (Pancha Maha Bhatus). (38)
The poet describes space as a vacuum that has energy. This thought carries tremendous power. It is a wide-ranging and flowering perception. To see that vacuum has energy is a powerful idea that can change the world, and open many doors of ideas. The universe is a larger picture and more than that our perception also descends from the firmament. This awareness is a larger picture, larger-than-life and it does not disregard our understanding of life and the world; it adds a consciousness. The poet is critical in his beautiful understanding. Defining each element seems like defining the world and understanding it through layers.
There is a poem titled “Melbourne” which states the famous places of Melbourne, and why one should visit it. This poem takes us close to the aesthetics of Melbourne; the poem reads like a travelogue. It takes us to a literary journey through words and the desire to travel is stirred awake.
There is an interesting poem in this collection titled “If I Were A God.” The poet says that he would be visible to all if he were a god. I found this idea very comforting. How artistic and crafty is his presentation, when he mentions this idea. It really means a lot and has a healing potential. A visible god can also mean that our prayer is heard by the almighty; this idea has tremendous potential.
There is a poem on “Friendship and Friend” and also Corona. Humanity speaks through empathetic voices from poets in this collection—especially in the poem titled “World Healing World Peace.”
The world is facing Corona,
In such conditions Corona,
Becomes greater than the 1st and 2nd World war,
People are dying of hunger,
They are searching for help (World Healing World Peace). (40)
The experience of poet Binod Dawadi as a student is also presented in his poem “College.” We get to know the author more closely through this poetry collection. The world will know him more genuinely. His ideas are time awakening and they speak of this modern world. The poet says that the American dream is false if you only have money for richness. The poet says that family values are more important.
This is the work of my ancestors,
The art of Survival,
I am a farmer,
I am poor,
But I am happy. (Farmer) ( 81)
In the above-mentioned lines, the poet sings the song of the soil. Farmer is brought to life; farming is the work of our ancestors. The relationship of humankind with farming is old. It is our ability to grow seeds on the soil; it has been feeding us from time immemorial. I am filled with contentment when I read this poem. I thank the poet for singing the song of the soil with this poem.
There is a poem titled “Fake Love” which is eye-opening. This is a diverse collection. I can go on elaborating on its titles. Poetry needs to be graspable and this collection has served that need. I am happy that the book has got international attention through an International editor jointly working on the book with a Nepali poet. I urge all poetry lovers to enrich themselves with this eye-opening book of poetry written for modern times. The words in this collection “The Power of Words” are really powerful and it will continue to remain powerful forever. I wish all the luck to the poets of this anthology and wish them success of the book.
The poems in this collection are written by Binod and Sydnie jointly. Sydnie’s poems have capitalized titles. An apology is a theme for her opening poem in the anthology, which I see as a forgiveness-seeking theme. The urge to apologize is not gloomy, it is a quest for existing and making one’s space to survive.
all of the time
I’m sorry for
for taking up
space. (Sorry). ( 159)
The poems by Sydnie have a psychological touch which is necessary for literature to express well. The feelings of the mind are precious. The inner depth of the surface is reached well. The surficial feelings have found depth in most of Sydnie’s poems.
I’ve been dreaming of you,
the you that took my insides and
rearranged them like they were
some sort of internal decorations
that could be interchanged, then you
that turned me into somebody new. (Dreaming). (161)
The internal decorations which she talks about in the above-mentioned lines are the inner dimensions that wait to be engineered. Turning the self into something new is a process. The poem might sound sad in the beginning, but it still has lot to say. Poetic expression is indeed magic, how it can convey sadness and uplift it. I thank Sydnie for sharing this poem in the anthology. Her personal ideas have been universalized in this poem. Readers will make it immortal.
We don our masks and wash our hands
March in the streets against tyranny
Hold our loved ones close and hope
beyond hope that things will change.
Will they? (Change). (163)
In the above-mentioned lines, the loved ones are not neglected or abandoned when there is no hope. There is profound hope in the poem. Despite our masked selves we still hold hands with our loved ones. This closeness of holding hands is our prayer for hope. I hope Sydney will enthrall us with her personal-turned-universal poetic expressions. I wish her all the best.
[Reviewer Sushant Thapa is an M.A. in English from JNU, New Delhi, India. He is a faculty of English at Nepal Business College, Biratnagar, Nepal.]