The Garden of Life

In wee, assuring spans of sunlit day,
The sun awakened, rides his carriage fast
To paint with crimson every corner passed,
To cheer the silent buds of torrid May.

My garden here in wintry menace shakes,
While neither spring nor summer visit once;
The busy bee is gone, the squirrel shuns
Its play on trees, the cuckoo never wakes.

The dew and snowflakes gather all around,
A grave for grass, a home to rotten fruits;
Below the barren soil are frozen roots,
The reach of frost is shallow yet profound.

And somehow Hope that slept on bed of Gloom,
Whose heart below the sea of Tears had drowned;
From voice of God, his heartbeats still astound
Me once again beside the final bloom.

This bloom, the last among the ones of youth,
Shall stand against the vile December draughts;
And spread throughout my life, its fragrant wafts
At times of reminiscing past and truth.

 

Sweet Souvenirs 

Like the April grooms the summer flowers,
Like monsoon does nourish fields of paddy;
Deep inside a heart, alone and needy,
Souvenirs do nurture calmest bowers,
Safe from steaming sun and winter showers.

Rest and sleep therein may each discover,
All the past when seems a mighty captor,
Spinning webs around us like some spectre;
Benedictions sent from heavens hover
Yet may not assure the due receiver.

Hence the highest heaven deemed but distant,
Lies nearby amidst the wildest woods there;
If we seek its golden traces elsewhere,
By and by, although our progress constant,
Like a mirage, shifts at every instant.

True to one, these souvenirs however
Good or bad, perceived in dreamy foresight;
Strength they lend to make the backbone upright,
Bent by time and held by one’s endeavour;
Born of faith that vows to last forever.

 

An electrical engineering alumnus of IGIT Sarang, Satyananda Sarangi is a young poet and editor who enjoys reading Longfellow, Shelley, Coleridge, Yeats, Blake and many others. His works have been widely published in India, Germany, United States, etc. and have featured in The Society of Classical Poets, Page & Spine, Glass: Facets of Poetry, WestWard Quarterly, The GreenSilk Journal and other national magazines and books. He also loves electrical machines and renewable energy sources. Currently, he resides in Odisha, India.

 

 

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34 Responses

  1. David Hollywood

    Well done Satyananda, They combine such an lovely influence of both Western and Eastern cultural imagery throughout them both and remind me of so many wonderful poetic presentations from the East which lace descriptions through soft, gentle appreciations of the seasons and their cycle of continuity and which always hold a pious and reverent respect for nature. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings David Sir!

      I am really glad to see you notice such subtle aspects of these poems. Nature has always been the greatest muse; I find new mysteries unfold every time I look closely at its charisma.

      The feeling is overwhelming, for your words are words from a master himself. I am quite thankful.

      Best wishes and regards

      Reply
  2. Monty

    I’m quite astounded, Sat, that a native asian can write 9 stanzas of serious poetry; from which no one could possibly know that the author’s tongue is not native-english. In my (admittedly amateur) eye, it seems that both pieces are flawless: both grammatically and in every poetic discipline. How did your extensive command of english happen . . not just with standard education, surely? Are both your parents natural Indians?

    Given the above, one can only wonder how boundless your command of Hindu must be; and how even more effortlessly you can write poetry in that language.

    I’m gonna be in your country in a cuppla weeks; would I be able to find any more of your work in certain journals/magazines, etc? I’ve immediately taken a liking to the name ‘GreenSilk Journal’ . . what’s that all about?

    Reply
    • Monty

      Is it just by coincidence that the location of the IGIT you attended – Sarang – is only one vowel short of your surname?

      Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Dear Monty, greetings!

      I must thank you for all the sweet praise that you have heaped on me. However, a poet too should be brave enough to admit his flaws. At times, I do find it tough to write perfect metrical verse, but nonetheless the beauty of poetry lies in form, rhyme and rhythm. From the very beginning ( referring to early 2015), old poems of the Elizabethan, Romantic and Victorian eras have fascinated me.

      It must be surprising because I owe this command over English to my school education. And despite both of my parents being natural Indians, but well versed in the English language contributed too.

      Your kind words made my day.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  3. Amy Foreman

    A pleasure to read, Satyananda, sir, as always! I especially enjoyed “The Garden of Life,” which reminds me of a stanza of one of my favorites–George Herbert’s “The Flower:”

    And now in age I bud again,
    After so many deaths I live and write;
    I once more smell the dew and rain,
    And relish versing. Oh, my only light,
    It cannot be
    That I am he
    On whom thy tempests fell all night.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Amy ma’am, greetings.

      I must tell you that George Herbert in himself was a great master of emotional depth. And if my poem reminded you of him, then it is my honour. It’s always a pleasure to interact with you.

      Best wishes and regards.

      Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      And ma’am, talking of flowers, you may love this poem by Irish poet, Thomas Moore.

      The Last Rose of Summer

      Tis the last rose of summer,
      Left blooming alone;
      All her lovely companions
      Are faded and gone;
      No flower of her kindred,
      No rosebud is nigh,
      To reflect back her blushes,
      Or give sigh for sigh.

      I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
      To pine on the stem;
      Since the lovely are sleeping,
      Go, sleep thou with them.
      Thus kindly I scatter,
      Thy leaves o’er the bed,
      Where thy mates of the garden
      Lie scentless and dead.

      So soon may I follow,
      When friendships decay,
      And from Love’s shining circle
      The gems drop away.
      When true hearts lie withered,
      And fond ones are flown,
      Oh! who would inhabit
      This bleak world alone?

      Reply
      • Amy Foreman

        Another poignant poem of the last flower of the season! There seems to be a poetic theme here . . . 🙂

  4. Alexander K Ream Jr

    S2: this abba of yours has a haunting rhythm that avoids off-putting. I think I shall try something similar in response, I hope I will.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Mr. Ream, greetings!

      The enclosed rhyme abba is pivotal to many of my poems. I am satisfied that they led you to consider to try something similar.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  5. Mark Stone

    Satyananda, Hello.

    The Garden of Life

    1. The first line reads: “In wee, assuring spans of sunlit day,” My dictionary says that “wee” means very small or very early. So I don’t understand “In wee.” If you mean something like “In the wee hours of the morning,” then I would spell that out a little more.

    2. In the second line, if “awakened” is intended to be an adjective describing “sun” rather than a verb, then I would put a comma after “sun.”

    3. The line “The dew and snowflakes gather all around” strikes me as curious, since my impression is that dew and snowflakes don’t appear at the same time. I may be wrong, but I believe that if it is below freezing (when there would be snow), the condensation on the ground would be frost, rather than dew.

    4. “From voice of God” sounds awkward. “From the voice of God” would sound more natural. Same comment regarding “on bed of Gloom.”

    5. The poem contains these lines:

    And somehow Hope that slept on bed of Gloom,
    Whose heart below the sea of Tears had drowned;

    If I wanted to turn “bed of gloom” and “sea of tears” into proper nouns, I would probably capitalize all four of the key words, i.e.: “Bed of Gloom” and “Sea of Tears.”

    6. The poem is a powerful one, with strong meter, rhymes and images. Nicely done.

    Sweet Souvenirs

    7. This poem contains the phrases “does nurture” and “do nurture.” Instead of saying “the monsoon does nourish the fields,” I would say “the monsoon nourishes the fields.” That sounds better to me, because that is how people talk (or at least that’s how I talk).

    8. Thank you for sharing the poems.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings, Mr. Stone!

      I am very thankful to you for putting your views; undoubtedly, these valuable inputs would contribute to my growth in the world of poetry.

      I will keep these fine, subtle points in mind for a long time.

      Gratitude.

      Reply
  6. Sathyanarayana Mydavolu

    The first in iambic pentameter and the second one in trochaic pentameter… astounding images in both. I too believe in sculpting with care all the imagery I would like to present. At your age writing such high class poetry is phenomenal my friend. I am so proud of you.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings, Sathyanarayana Sir.

      I am very thankful to you for your kind words. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

      Regards

      Reply
  7. Leonard Dabydeen

    ‘The Garden of Life’ is an ebulliently fantastic poem, set in five stanzas in iambic pentameter that harness the true spirit of Nature and man’s delight “From voice of God…/…beside the final bloom.” Hope is the axiom of the poet that after the cold, December draught, he will enjoy once more the “fragrant drafts” in the Garden, while canonizing reverie of ‘past and truth’. The rhythm and rhyme scheme in each stanza bring powerful cadence and flow of thought for an enjoyable read. TFS, Dear Friend Satyananda. God Bless!!

    ‘Sweet Souvenirs’ is an enjoyable read, set in four quintet stanzas in iambic pentameter. Each stanza is rich in imagery that espouses powerful and provocative flow of thoughts. The last two lines of the last stanza is an absolute:
    ‘Bent by time and held by one’s endeavour;
    Born of faith that vows to last forever.’
    Lovely rhyme scheme.
    TFS, Dear Friend Satyananda. God Bless!!

    Reply
  8. David Watt

    It is wonderful to read your fine examples of Romantic poetry. I agree with Mr. Stone concerning alternative options for ‘does nurture’ and ‘do nurture’ in “Sweet Souvenirs”, in order to enhance the natural flow. Overall, I am impressed by your handling of meter, and the imagery you have created. Very well done!

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Dear David Sir,
      Greetings for the day!

      I have always felt that I may be falling short of accomplishing the “perfect meter” in my poems, largely because of English not being my first language. Still, appreciation from you makes a lot of difference to my learning process.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  9. James Sale

    Well done, Satyananda. For me the most noticeable feature of your poetry is the deep appreciation of nature and its varying moods that seem to inform your work. And Nature is always to be welcomed.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings David Sir!

      I guess the theme of nature comes naturally to my writing. There is so much to explore about the river, forests, the lake, the woods, the grasshopper, the meadows and every other creation. I remember your series of essays on “Poetry and the Muses” threw light on this very aspect – each muse chooses her own poet.
      Many a time, people believe I must have migrated into this century from the one where they wrote heavily on nature.

      Reply
      • Satyananda Sarangi

        Deep apology for addressing you wrongly, James Sir. Hope you won’t mind.

        Best wishes.

  10. George Winters

    Hello, Mr. Sarangi.

    It’s quite unbelievable to find classical poetry in the modern age though these poems take me to the age of Wordsworth and Shelley. All the best.

    Thank you.

    Reply
      • George Winters

        It’s a strange feeling, Mr. Sarangi.
        This theme helps me recollect one of my favourite poems. I am sharing it here :

        The Deserted Garden

        I mind me in the days departed,
        How often underneath the sun
        With childish bounds I used to run
        To a garden long deserted.

        The beds and walks were vanished quite;
        And wheresoe’er had struck the spade,
        The greenest grasses Nature laid
        To sanctify her right.

        I called the place my wilderness,
        For no one entered there but I;
        The sheep looked in, the grass to espy,
        And passed it ne’ertheless.

        The trees were interwoven wild,
        And spread their boughs enough about
        To keep both sheep and shepherd out,
        But not a happy child.

        Adventurous joy it was for me!
        I crept beneath the boughs, and found
        A circle smooth of mossy ground
        Beneath a poplar tree.

        Old garden rose-trees hedged it in,
        Bedropt with roses waxen-white
        Well satisfied with dew and light
        And careless to be seen.

        Long years ago it might befall,
        When all the garden flowers were trim,
        The grave old gardener prided him
        On these the most of all.

        Some lady, stately overmuch,
        Here moving with a silken noise,
        Has blushed beside them at the voice
        That likened her to such.

        And these, to make a diadem,
        She often may have plucked and twined,
        Half-smiling as it came to mind
        That few would look at them.

        Oh, little thought that lady proud,
        A child would watch her fair white rose,
        When buried lay her whiter brows,
        And silk was changed for shroud!

        Nor thought that gardener, (full of scorns
        For men unlearned and simple phrase,)
        A child would bring it all its praise
        By creeping through the thorns!

        To me upon my low moss seat,
        Though never a dream the roses sent
        Of science or love’s compliment,
        I ween they smelt as sweet.

        It did not move my grief to see
        The trace of human step departed:
        Because the garden was deserted,
        The blither place for me!

        Friends, blame me not! a narrow ken
        Has childhood ‘twixt the sun and sward;
        We draw the moral afterward,
        We feel the gladness then.

        And gladdest hours for me did glide
        In silence at the rose-tree wall:
        A thrush made gladness musical
        Upon the other side.

        Nor he nor I did e’er incline
        To peck or pluck the blossoms white;
        How should I know but roses might
        Lead lives as glad as mine?

        To make my hermit-home complete,
        I brought dear water from the spring
        Praised in its own low murmuring,
        And cresses glossy wet.

        And so, I thought, my likeness grew
        (Without the melancholy tale)
        To ‘Gentle Hermit of the Dale,’
        And Angelina too.

        For oft I read within my nook
        Such minstrel stories; till the breeze
        Made sounds poetic in the trees,
        And then I shut the book.

        If I shut this wherein I write
        I hear no more the wind athwart
        Those trees, nor feel that childish heart
        Delighting in delight.

        My childhood from my life is parted,
        My footstep from the moss which drew
        Its fairy circle round: anew
        The garden is deserted.

        Another thrush may there rehearse
        The madrigals which sweetest are;
        No more for me! myself afar
        Do sing a sadder verse.

        Ah me, ah me! when erst I lay
        In that child’s-nest so greenly wrought,
        I laughed unto myself and thought
        ‘The time will pass away.’

        And still I laughed, and did not fear
        But that, whene’er was past away
        The childish time, some happier play
        My womanhood would cheer.

        I knew the time would pass away,
        And yet, beside the rose-tree wall,
        Dear God, how seldom, if at all,
        Did I look up to pray!

        The time is past; and now that grows
        The cypress high among the trees,
        And I behold white sepulchres
        As well as the white rose, —

        When graver, meeker thoughts are given,
        And I have learnt to lift my face,
        Reminded how earth’s greenest place
        The color draws from heaven, —

        It something saith for earthly pain,
        But more for Heavenly promise free,
        That I who was, would shrink to be
        That happy child again.

        – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  11. Matthew Hanley

    Hi Mr. Satyananda Sarangi.

    I liked the way you chose different meters for both poems. Let me tell you that deft use of trochees is not easy; and writing in trochaic pentameter is an achievement in itself. I wonder how you managed it at such a tender age. Well done.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      I am grateful for your appreciation. I will try to experiment with different meters. Thanks for the encouragement.

      Regards

      Reply
      • Matthew Hanley

        It’s my pleasure, Mr. Sarangi. I would be elated to find more of poems like these. Thanks.

  12. Aprilia Zank

    I am in awe of your command of the English language and of your masterly use of rhythm and rhyme — it is something young poets don’t necessarily hold in high esteem. The imagery is tender and well worded, though maybe a bit conventional. But with your writing skills, I am sure you can increase the originality of your lines. Well done and congratulations!

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Aprilia ma’am!

      I am glad that you read them. And I will try my best to expand the horizons of my style.

      Best wishes and regards.

      Reply
  13. Satyananda Sarangi

    Mr. Winters, thanks for sharing the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I must admit that I haven’t read much of her work. And the time is ripe to read her more. I recollect having read one of her famous ones – “How do I love thee”.

    Gratitude.

    Reply
  14. Jerry Langdon

    These are examples of wonderful poetry. They have a feel much like Yeats and Longfellow, with a perfect articulation. I love how you build the atmosphere with color and a touch of mythology. Whilst reading, “The sun awakened, rides his carriage fast”, and the corresponding lines, I thought of Apollo or Helion in their chariot.

    Reply

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