Amidst contemporary women writers Chandramoni Narayan Swami is acquiring a distinct position and the present volume Sunflower and Other Nature Poems is a second one from the versatile pen of the Poetess. Besides writing the Karans of Penang (novel), the Unseen Abode and Other Poems, Adventures of Fun, Pranks of Esquire, and The Blind Alley. Chandramoni has been awarded with the Millennium 2000 Medal of Honour by A.B.I., U.S.A. and Subhadra Kumari Chauhan Centenary Puraskar in 2004 for outstanding contribution to Indian Literature. The present volume is basically the book of poems on Nature which has been the most enthralling element in the poet’s life. To quote her views:
Nature has always been a book to me: Sometimes a picture book to be gazed at in sheer pleasure; at other times as the mood turned pensive or thoughtful, a book of philosophy to comprehend which a century is not enough.
The poetess has been the seeker who tries to demystify and decipher the secrets of nature and she adds:
I started reading that book as a child sitting on the earnest verandah of her house in the evening and spend hours trying to decode its mysteries.
“The very first poem”, in the words of the poet, “I wrote was a nature poem in Malyalam about a pre-monsoon cloud burst. Since then I have written nature poems in English, Hindi and Malyalam.”
The first poem of the collection ‘Sunflower’ is autobiographical in which the poet becomes mystic:
One whom my love
Can never move.
For one I cannot touch
Who is beyond my reach.
I yearn, turn and burn
Ever since I was born
Only to be spurned at every turn. (p. 1)
The collection carries 25 poems with different moods. Most of the poems are on trees like ‘Green Seeds’, ‘Sunflower’, ‘The Black and the Bitter’, ‘The Prying Poppy’, ‘The Cactus’, ‘The Leaf in Waiting’, ‘The Leaf and the Thorn’, ‘Musing of the Champa’, ‘The ever green Tree’, ‘The Garden Queen’ and ‘The Sturdy Palm.’ Besides other few poems like ‘The Audacious Birds’ (on birds), ‘The Darkest New Moon’ (on moon), ‘Earth to Explain’(on earth), ‘The River and the Stone’ and ‘ The Laughing Waterfall’ (on water) are also essentially written on Nature. In her poems, Chandramoni is pictorial, lively, narrative and minute. A few examples can be given here:
Cascading down the high hills
With gurgling sounds wafted by the wind
The translucent waters dance and sparkle
Like crystals in the clear sunlight. (p.3)
Washed clean by the early morning dew
Gleaming white in the sunlight at dawn
They put a girdle round the lawn
These tender sweet-smelling pearls
Which some miscall Jasmine buds. (p.6)
The sun has set
The stars have hid their faces
Behind the Monsoon clouds
As night swiftly rolls out
The blanket of darkness
Over the moonless sky. (p.7)
The poems of the collection are tinged with the colour of mysticism and symbolism. The poetess finds the presence of God in the lap of nature:
God has made her his adornment:
His devotees all search her out
In the densest forest, in the darkest night
Lowly yet exalted, humble, yet cherished
Detached even from Mother Earth
She remains the queen of many hearts. (p.21)
The language of Chandramoni is lucid and spontaneous. She is perfect in her narration. Her poems depict the various moods and elements of nature. Her language is simple and attractive. She has used frequently Hindi words like neems, saligram, pooja, champa, arundhati, Kohinoor, mahanadi, machan, sanyas, shikaris, dhruva and mantra which add the glamour of the language and establish the craftsmanship of the poetess.
To sum up, it is undoubtedly admitted fact that Chandramoni Narayanswami is one of the pioneering women poets and her present collection is an additional volume which establishes her poetic skill in the arena of Oriya literature and the collection Sunflower and Other Nature Poems deserves wide acclaim and analysis of the critic and lovers of poetry.