Papri Sri Raman

Title: Songs of Light

AUTHOR: Ayaz Rasool Nazki

PP: 100


Publisher:Writers Workshop

This slender book of poetry from the Kashmiri poet Ayaz Rasool Nazki begins with lines:
…to do in this dark and cold night day after day night after night So Kashmir since the 1990s. The second poem is more poignant :
The man with the lantern
turned the corner
lantern dangling under his cloak
that was the last
anyone saw of him…

In his preface Nazki writes: Kashmir breaths into every word that I write…Kashmir has become an obsession and sometimes a limitation for most Kashmiri poets/ writers. It leaves us no space to think of anything else. The despair, hopelessness and violence that have afflicted Kashmir naturally inform all our creative endeavours. It is almost as if the political and military wounds inflicted upon it have caused a permanent disability. There must be a world beyond and in spite of Kashmir but our blinded and blindfolded eyes cannot see it.
Another Kashmiri has recently commented, Kashmir has become cold, heartless….a frozen land, a frosted landscape. Nazki’s poem brings this stilled picture to mind :
Birds were told
of the sanctions
the no-fly zone….

Poet Maharaj Krishan Santoshi, in his Foreword writes: Nazki sees life and his times from many windows. The poems in Echoing Shamas Faqir is spiritual in nature. Agha Shahid Ali, Farid Parbati’s pen are tributes of mirrorwork and lace.
…the village has lost its count
of the sheep gone way
the wolf has befriended
the shepherd….

It is so prophetic….He (the shepherd) was away all day. His little girl all alone waited, waited for him to return. One of the best poems in the collection, of course, is Nostradamus: I saw it happen before my time. Poetry is difficult to review. One can only say, it gets you or it does not. Nazki gets into your bones.

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