Meet poet, Balroop Singh, and a review of Magical WhispersPosted: November 28, 2020
Today, I have the pleasure of featuring talented poet, Balroop Singh, as my Treasuring Poetry guest. Balroop has shared some lovely thoughts about poetry and her favourite poems. My review of her latest book, Magical Whispers, is included at the end of the post.
You can find out more about Balroop Singh and her poetry on her lovely blog here: https://balroop2013.wordpress.com/about/
What is your favourite poem?
How can you have one poem as a favorite? They have been changing with my growing years. From Rumi to Rudyard Kipling to Maya Angelou, poetry has always evoked images of romanticism, realism and Sufism and I got carried away with those images depending on the phase of my life.
As a youngster, I liked ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost. It acquainted me with the beautiful images and simple style of writing a poem, inspired me to read more poetry, nudged me to keep the promises that we make to ourselves. It also calls upon the reader to focus, to brush aside the distractions and temptations and move ahead.
As a student of English Literature, I fell in love with the nature poetry of William Wordsworth, as his poems told me to carry the beauty of nature in the “inward eye” and feel the “bliss of solitude” in “vacant or in pensive mood.” His Daffodils entrances me even today. I must’ve read it a thousand times!
‘The Little Black Boy’ by William Blake became my favorite when I taught it to my students. The emotional appeal to end racism that the poet makes in this poem is still relevant. His imagery is exceptional and his simple, convincing style moved me. Then I stumbled across ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling and it became my all time favorite. The values it imparts resonate with me.
Slowly the alleys I walked down widened into avenues of observation and experience and I discovered more poems of human interest. Poetry that focuses on what lies within a human heart, combined with imagination and imagery from nature appeals to me.
Recently I stumbled across this gem, an outstanding poem written in 1932. It demonstrates an incredible power to assuage loss and anguish. Though the poet had written it for her friend who could not visit her mother’s grave due to disturbing times, its popular appeal can be judged from the fact that it was read by the father of a young soldier, who had been killed by a bomb in Northern Ireland.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.” – Mary Elizabeth Frye
This poem conjures a thousand images of nature to lift the gloomy mood, which fades away in the wake of so much positivity. Read it twice and you would be transported into a different world. My heart misses a beat each time I read it.
Life seems have come a full circle, as once again, a poem written in a simple style has appealed so much to me.
If you could choose to write like any well-known poet, who would it be?
Robert Frost and William Wordsworth have been my early influences but now I would like to write like Adrienne Rich, an American poet, essayist and feminist who could criticize conservative attitudes of the society through her works. Just look at her powerful poetry:
Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers by Adrienne Rich
“Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.
Aunt Jennifer’s finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.
When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.”
What tugs at my heart is the message of subjugation that these lines convey in a very succinct manner. ‘Massive weight’ symbolizes aunt Jennifer’s ordeals in an unhappy marriage. At the same time, it also hints at the inability of the patriarchs to control the mind of women. Aunt Jennifer may be tied by societal norms, she could have been dominated by the “master,” (a symbol for her husband) but the art she creates with her ivory needle symbolizes freedom – “tigers prance,” “they do not fear the men.”
Only symbols speak in her poetry. The way hope and despair merge in this poem is outstanding. There are very few poets who focus on social and political themes with the fervor of Adrienne Rich.
I have tried a similar style: (An excerpt from Emerging From Shadows)
Thorny monsters monitor my trail
I know I can brush them aside
Each one reminds me of you.
Each spike strengthened me.
Unrequited love is not my shriek
I know this love let me grow
I know obscure alleys scream louder.
Respect, reverence, self-esteem
Are my basic requisites.
I refuse to be a competitor
Who struggles for personal rights.
The stumble, the search stirred me.
Questions that haunted my sleep
Clamor and clutter… all that robs my peace
Elevates me, helps me detach!
I am no longer tied to the cliffs.
Threats don’t hold any ground
I have decided to fly high
On the winds of cool complacence.
Who has the audacity to ask?
Who can misconstrue my intrepid intentions?
Who can doubt my positive power?
No one can sway my dauntless decision.
© Balroop Singh
Meet the poet
Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educator always had a passion for writing. She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.
When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.
A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life , Emerging From Shadows, Timeless Echoes and Moments We Love – all widely acclaimed poetry books. She has recently published Magical Whispers, another poetry book. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person. Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.
My review of Magical Whispers by Balroop Singh
What Amazon says
I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.
‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.
In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.
Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.
Magical Whispers is a beautiful collection of freestyle poems from a talented poet. Each of the 73 poems speaks to a special event or sight in nature or an experience in life’s journey with a ‘whispered’ undertone of emotion. The poems are divided into two sections, with the first mainly about the magic of our natural environment and the second about the magic of our human lives.
Two wonderful examples of this undercurrent of whispered emotion are as follows:
“Whispers that stood walled,
That could dispel his darkness
Now they seethe and speak
Louder than his voice.”
From Secret Whispers
“They made me who I am
A reclusive introvert.
They told me I don’t have rights,
I was born to be controlled.”
From A Loner
The poet makes use of the most delightful imagery. Her writing is so lovely it is difficult to select one illustrative example, but this is a paragraph that particularly struck me while reading this book:
“What how they gleam
And say adieu to the sun
But shimmer with delight
From Did You Hear the Whisper?
A lovely book of poetry and one I highly recommend.