The voice of a woman
Harbir K Singh

I Have Seen That Face Before
Shomshuklla. Rupa.
Pages 63. Rs 296.

Soft, sensuous and sensitive poetry touches the heartstrings, while aesthetics in poetry brings transparency of emotions, desires, and attracts attention towards what poet wishes to convey. IHave Seen That Face Before by Shomshuklla is a collection of 50 poems, in which she brings out myriad colours of emotions. Though in few of her poems, she seems to be in a meditative mood, thinking of her childhood memories, at times confesses about her deep-rooted desires.

Buddha is a short poem, a tribute to the person who inspired her to read Rumi to ‘find’ herself. In Who Am I, nature is beautiful. ‘The blue and pink hue/Of setting sun/Behind the brown mountain.’ She loves nature, however, in the end, says: ‘Should I wait/Should I enjoy.’

House brings out riot of colours. ‘One wall red/Other green/next to it yellow’. But are these colours riot of emotions, vibrancy or confusion? The poems Lotus, The Window, Beautiful and Simple bring out the beauty of nature, which stuns senses. The pink sky and the sea bathed in each other’s colour in the evening are gorgeous, while the sun flower blossoming in front of our eyes, with yellow petals opening, surprises us. The morning sun entering from the window casts a magic spell, with its rays playing around. Rain pours ‘aimless boundless/in its own rhythm/with the rhythm of life,/endless.

In The Stars, she remembers her childhood when she too had desired to touch the stars as other little kids do. In Soul, she addresses God that as human beings we brag so much when create something but He has created the whole universe and is cool.

Kiss describes the desires in a woman has, when she wants to be loved by her beloved. ‘Kiss me wild/Inflame me, with your rising spirits/Transform me into a true woman with/every breath of your/soul and unblemished/desire. ‘ In With You, she describes the presence her beloved. ‘Your presence, intoxication of spring/offers me peace/in mind, spirit and soul,/engulfs me;/do I need to be with you ?

The Answer beautifully answers her question. 'I asked him, why did you/come to me?' He touches her knees, arms around shoulders, very softly feels her lips, and 'A deep breath comes out from his senses/mingled with mine;/I got my answer.' The poems The Game Love, Want, Solitude and Peace bring out the deep desires of the body in a magical way.

The Woman hits out at today's women who are busy sitting, gossiping, partying, rearing children and serving husbands but have lost individuality. She asks why we can't find women who know themselves, and know who they are. She doesn't find the form of Durga and Kali, 'the woman, who teaches/us what we should be'. In a poem, Swami, a famous character in the stories of eminent writer R. K. Narayan, reminds her of her son, Rik, who does all type of work for her like Swami.

Shomshukllas poems have sensuous qualities, and quite appealing, too. The sensitivity of thoughts and emotions has been brought out well through words, colours and images. The language is simple, which makes her poems enjoyable.