The editor and publisher of Metverse Muse, Dr.H.Tulsi, certainly does not need any introduction regarding the literary career or accomplishments for she can truly be called the ‘one among the makers of Indian English Literature’ who has renovated the classical poetry in the modern age and claimed the Kudos of resurrection of metrical verse in our times, nor previous collections, Old Wine in New Bottles, Resurrection Sonnet Century ,Ballads and Ballads, A Nosegay of New Year Poems ,Lyrical Lays bear the stamp of her devotion to metrical verse viz. ballads, Tanka, Lyric, Sonnets etc. and now Symphony Weds Symmetry, the collection of fixed from poems ‘selected and collected’ by the poetess is dedicated to her late husband Mr. H.N.Naidu.
The poetess Naidu is more dedicated to her readers than to name or fame for she considers her readers more avid admirers as well as meditative mentors of her poems than a VIP. who will pen a forward of her book.
As already affirmed earlier, is preference to ‘Forward’ by a single VIP (who may or may not we a literary person), I value the views of hundreds of reflective readers who can better muse upon the musings and concept featured in such creative works and from objective opinions thereon… (PROEM-2)
Therefore, she deemed it fit to affix an addendum presenting the comments of critics and other world of words occupants on her earlier poetic publications in the end of the book.
While going thorough these opinions and comments, one- the totally unaware of the poetic accomplishments of the poetess will be amazed beyond measure to glance her giant image in the world of literature, and contribution of Modern Indian Literature. The criticism on her oeuvres also need a book form to be published separately alike the book Responses to I.H.Rizvi’s Poetry (A book of critical responses to the poetry of Dr.I.H.Rizvi, an noted Indian English poet) so that future generation may draw critical material from one reliable source.
The book Symphony Weds Symmetry is divided into XIV chapters namely sonnets, villanelles, Rondeau, Davidians, Ottawa Rima, Rhyme Royal Triolets, Quintet Stanzas, Ballads, Spenserian Stanzas, Rondele, Terza Rima, Pontoms Haiku and Senryou and Tankas, that evince the excellence of Naidu in these fixed forms of poetry. These poems are significant, perfect and meaningful as well as mirror the poetic zeal of the poetess to write in fixed manner which a bit difficult and time consuming job (often people today write in free verse deeming it fit for their scarcity of time). In the first chapter of the book named Sonnets- the poet has composed beautiful sonnets of her poet friend- Dr. Frances Hackney, Dr. Ivan Cuba and Dr. K.R.S. Iyanger who have passed away the stage of life, but the outlook of the poetess is optimistic when she says-
Our idol Iyengar has ceased to breath!
This doyen who had done his country proud
Wears how, each shawl of honour as shroud,
Each laurel and each garland as wreath
X X X
His precepts if we practice and uphold
Would we not be paying the best tribute?
(Salutations to Prof. K. R. S. Iyengar, (16)
By paying tributes to these literary giants, the poet writes both the popular types of Sonnets –viz –Petrarchan and Shakespearean and the theme of most of her Sonnets remain bright and optimistic and didactic:
So wake and put your little wheel in motion
For man to squeeze fruition Out Fruition’s pure
Potion. (‘It is Time to Rise’ 912)
So break at once; Gorgon Guilt’s braces,
And Change Wrong dung cake into soap cake right
With which to wash our souls’ dirty faces.
(‘We Beg. Not But Behests. Give, O New Millennium’- Pet. Sonnet, 13)
Similarly in the second chapter of Villanelles, She exhorts-
It takes not long for us something to break,
But ages it may take us to matters mend;
Destructive ways of working let’s forsake.
(‘Destruction courts Disaster’s -24)
And in the poem ‘Peace and War’ when she says-
While craving Peace we kindle war
Knowing not the meaning of ‘amity’
To other’s views. We shut our door! (22)
In the third chapter of ‘Rendeaux’, Naidu has composed beautiful Randeaux in Pentameter and Tetrameter and specially the ‘Marvelous Man’, ‘O Scientist’, ‘To the Reported Warder – Warriors of Kargil, ‘Magnanimous Mink’ and ‘I Sometimes Keel’ are excellently written which show Naidu’s deep musings:
My hair’s on end .My eyes at shadows stare.
Too tattered is my courage – cloak to wear.
Not few there are who take to things like rum
To dodge their woes. But does this solve the sum?
Nay: Death alone can rid me of all care,
I sometimes feel. (32)
Some Davidians and Reverse Davidians with different rhyme schemes are noticeable esp. ‘Lord Krishna Speaks-about the Soul’
Thus spoke Krishna to Arjun:
As people. Put on garbs or garments new,
All the old and worn out clothes discarding,
Much in a similar way, the soul too
Wears new bodies, withered ones discharging. (43)
One can easily discern the same thought in the Gita Chapter 2, Shloka 22:
oklkafl th.kkZfu ;Fkk fogk;
uokfu x`gkfr ujksijkf.k
;Fkk “kjhjkf.k fogk; th.kkZfu
U;kfu la;kfr uokfu nsfg (Srimadbhagwatgita, commentary by A. C. Bhaktivedanta, 88)
Or when the poetess says:
Thus spoke Krishna to Arjun
The soul cannot be dried, cannot be burned,
It is insoluble and unbreakable,
The soul cannot be moved cannot be turned,
It’s immutable, unchangeable. (43)
One can easily remember the another Shloka of Nainam Kshindanti Shastrani Nainam Dahati Pavaka…… of the the Gita.
In the chapter of ‘Ottawa Rima’ Naidu’s poem addressed to Dr. Enamanuel Petrakis and Mr. Krishna Khullar are beautiful and in the chapter ‘Rhyme Royal’ the poems ‘Ordeals of Orpheus in Vain’ and ‘To Mr. Walter May’ are nice poems of the poetess.
The Triolets ‘Ego, ‘Try a Triolet’, ‘If Away Our Aim’, ‘We Wound Others’ ‘justice Lost’ and ‘Justice Regained’ are nice, well-written and excellently crafted. For example we may see the poem ‘Ego’:
A man whose ego skywards soars
Feeds himself on flattery,
And self respect he quite ignores!
A man whose ego. Skyward soars
On wisdom shutting tight his doors,
Opens them for foolery!
A man whose ego skyward. Soars
Feeds himself on flattery! (65)
Likewise the Quintet Stanzas ‘A Poem for Poesy Pure’, ‘To Heaven They Hurried’, ‘Pygmalion Learns a Lesson’ ‘The Ballades’, ‘To ‘Julie’, ‘Once More’, ‘Sororal Sacrifice’ and the Spenserian stanzas-‘Renewed Salutations to Dr. Stella Browning’ and ‘Accord and Discord’ are the evidence of Naidu’s poetic still and meditativeness. The Rondels in 13 lines like Strength is not Sufficient’ and ‘Drunken Driver’ are interesting as well as meaningful. For example take the following entitled-‘Those Olden Golden Days’:
Those olden, golden days, she said
Recalled can be only in mind.
For ever they’ve been left behind
And won’t return, for they are dead.
The chapters of Terza Rima and Pantoums also Cary beautiful poems like- ‘Feline Flowers’, Master Magician Miach (a Celtic legend) (Terza Rima) and ‘The Precious Prize’ and ‘Cream Versus Scum’ (Pantoums) are good. But the Haiku and Senru of Naidu given alternatively in the book add the glamour of the book because they carry a deal of element of nature and establish poet’s artistic and visionary qualities:
Sea-gull flocks fly past
Returning to their homeland
No fish-famine now.” (104), ‘the return’,
X X X
Mother dog bequeaths
Lorry driver’s gift of death
To her new-born pups. (Ibid)
Alike, at another place, the pictorial quality can be seen in ‘The Fall’:
Almond trees are bare
Dry leaves form carpets on roads
And block open drains. (105)
Sweet snakes crawled on me
Woke not my mongoose A.C.-
In no mood to flight. (‘Summer’105)
In the end of the book, ‘The Tankas’ are again no less beautiful in which Naidu epitomizes big thoughts in small sentences:
The bridge looked forward
To her marriage life being
A long love ‘epic’
Alas! Shorter than ‘Tanka’
A ‘Haiku’ it proved to be! (112, ‘Great Expectations’)
‘Olympian Gods and Goddesses’ (Greek myth) mirrors the whole history of Greek God and Goddesses. The poetess again deserves high praise for her material and traditional verse that are the real treasures to be preserved for posterity. Besides, the apt use of wards at the apt places mingled with rich emotions and high ideas and ideals create a magic in her poetry. The interweaving of anecdotal interludes (of Greek mythology) along with the themes of modern times is presented in a commendable language. Here the comment of Dr. Haider Nayab appears aright:
I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that Dr. Tulsi Naidu’s poetic composition are of the highest standard. She has mastered the different genres of English poetry and contribution most efficiently to each one of them. Till now I have not come across any contemporary poetess of her calibre or content in India. (144, Extracts from Critical Comments)
And the collection ‘will not truly leg behind its procedures in eliciting on equivalent response from those into whose hands this volume of verse will fortunately find its place’.