The skylight lets the nascent streak
Of gold inside this darkened room;
Some wisp of scent invades therein,
A perfumed faith to counter gloom.

Those orbs of light cast patterns old,
Of perching birds, of twigs, of leaves;
Though most designs appear archaic,
Their lasting touch, my heart perceives.

However good, this inlet be,
The raindrops seep and all is moist;
The dampened wall in faded hues,
Derides the hopes from days rejoiced.

And like the skylights, human minds
Are windows, letting in the rays;
As fancied thoughts and futile ones
Exist on alternating days.

 

 

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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30 Responses

  1. Mark F. Stone

    Satyananda,

    Hi. I like this poem. It reflects great skill. I enjoyed the moist/rejoiced rhyme. My favorite lines are 12 and 13 because of the sonics (e.g., the “Deri” followed by the “da… re…” and the “like” followed by the “…kyl…”).

    My only hesitation is with the last two lines. I pronounce “desired” with three syllables and my guess is that others pronounce it with two syllables. I would like see in its place a word or phrase that clearly has two syllables and that fits the iambic meter. One option is: wished for. Also, “alternate” does not fit the iambic meter. You could replace “all alternate” with “alternating.” If you made these substitutions, the final stanza would read as follows:

    And like the skylights, human minds
    Are windows, letting in the rays;
    The wished for thoughts or harmful ones
    Exist on alternating days.

    Another advantage of using “wished for” is that it would give you vertical assonance in that you would have a soft “i” in the second syllable of each of the last two lines. Best wishes,

    Mark

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Mr. Stone!

      I’m really glad that you liked the poem. It means a lot.
      Further, I would like to thank you for your suggestions.

      Best wishes and regards

      Reply
  2. Sally Cook

    Dear Satyananda–

    Descriptive,and an interesting idea. However, the poem needs time to “cure”, so its problems become obvious to you..
    One thing – if, in the next to last line, you were to remove the first word “The” then it would fall nicely in place
    .,

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Sally ma’am!

      After you pointed out the usage of “the” in the last but one line, I re-read the line. And I tried my best to improve it.

      Thanks. Your advice is well appreciated.

      Regards and best wishes

      Reply
  3. Satyananda Sarangi

    Greetings, Sally ma’am.

    I extend my gratitude to you for reading this.
    I will keep your suggestion in mind.

    Thank you and best wishes.

    Reply
  4. Monty

    Namaste, Sat.

    I won’t tell you that I’ve got some ‘suggestions’ for your poem; I don’t like to use that word, ‘coz it suggests that I’m suggesting you replace some of your words with mine. I’m not . . I’m just telling you how I see certain aspects of the piece:

    L3.. I feel the word ‘invades’ could be swapped for ‘pervades’. Not ‘coz I feel that ‘pervades’ is necessarily the right word . . but ‘invades’ gives the sense that the ‘wisp of scent’ has entered by force; has invaded somewhere where it’s not wanted; which can’t be the case if the ‘wisp of scent’ is welcome (‘coz it counters the gloom).

    L6.. I feel would flow easier with:
    Of perching birds, of twigs and leaves;

    L8.. Would flow easier with no comma after ‘touch’

    L9.. Definitely no comma after ‘good’.

    L15.. I agree with the above comment that the word ‘The’ sits awkwardly (in the context of the sentence it’s in). I might’ve ended the poem thus:
    Our thoughts – both harmful and desired –
    Exist on all alternate days.

    (I hope you paid no attention to Mr Stone’s preference for ‘desired’ to be replaced with a two-syllable word; why should you, when ‘desired’ is indubitably a two-syllable word?
    Let’s take, for example, the english word ‘ire’ [to ire someone.. to anger someone]. Surely, everyone would concur that the word ‘ire’ contains one syllable . . how could they not?
    Equally, the french word ‘des’ [des hommes] is indubitably one syllable. So how can ‘des’ and ‘ire’ be any more than two syllables? Adding a ‘d’ on the end [to make ‘desired’] doesn’t add another syllable; if it did, we would have to pronounce it des-ire-duh!)

    All in all, Sat, I feel that you’ve produced a beautiful, thoughtful and clever poem here; clever in the overall analogy of a skylight with a human mind. It contains an abundantly rich use of language throughout; well-placed metaphors; strong rhymes (I agree with Mr Stone about moist/rejoiced: that was a real capture); and, metrically, it flows so easy for the reader, from start to finish. High class stuff.

    Having seen some of your work before on these pages, I can’t say I’m ENTIRELY surprised at the quality of ‘Skylights’; but I remain SLIGHTLY surprised that one for whom english is not their native tongue . . can have at their command such a full and varied use of that language. I’m convinced that ‘Skylights’ is the best poem of yours that I’ve seen to date.

    Ekdam ramro (as they say in Nepal).

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Greetings Mr. Monty!

      I am thankful for the kind words.

      Further, I’m grateful for the suggestions you made. They will come handy.

      In line 3, the word “invades” has been used because the gloom has always a tendency to spread its influence. From the perspective of gloom, the sunlight is unwanted; there’s no other way it can get in – it has to have a forceful entry. I hope that the sense of this usage is clear now.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
      • Monty

        Yeah, I see what you’re saying now about ‘invades’; I never thought of it that way.

  5. Matthew Hanley

    Mr. Sarangi,

    Hello. The above piece is pretty good – such unusual imagination. The rhyme scheme is excellent; I couldn’t have agreed more to the above comments regarding moist/rejoiced.

    Why don’t you try writing in other metrical styles other than in ‘iambs’ and ‘trochees’? I’m sure you would pull it off with expertise.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Hello, Mr. Hanley.

      I would like to thank you for your feedback.

      And surely, I will try my hands at other styles as well.

      Best wishes and regards

      Reply
  6. George Winters

    Hi, Mr. Satya.

    First, I was amazed with the title.
    Second, the poem has got the typical flow in which you write i.e. the reader can go on without a stop from the first line to the last.
    Third, if you could improve the last but one line, the already good poem becomes better. ( Obviously, it entirely depends on you whether you want to or not.)

    Always a pleasure to read your works.

    Thanks and wish you good luck.

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Dear Mr. Winters,

      Greetings for the day!

      I will keep your words in mind for sure. A poet can grow only when he has a scope for improvement.

      Thanks a ton for your advice.

      Regards

      Reply
  7. David Watt

    Satyananda, your latest piece is richly poetic, both in language and title.
    I like that you are willing to consider sound advice for fine-tuning. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Hello David Sir!

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Being a young poet, there’s this evergrowing need in me to get fine-tuned. Surely, SCP has helped a great deal in this. I still haven’t forgotten your poem “I reminisce, I reminisce” that had appeared here couple of years ago.

      Regards and best wishes.

      Reply
  8. C.B. Anderson

    I will second whoever wrote that “good” should not be followed by a comma. The last two lines of the poem (as someone else might have noted) are metrically incomprehensible. Overall, I think the idea was a good one, and a good idea fairly well executed, but not perfect. None of us will ever achieve perfection, but perfection should be the ideal toward which we strive. If we end up with mere good, then perhaps good is good enough. Your command of English is much better than that of many native speakers. Nice job!

    Reply
    • Satyananda Sarangi

      Hello Sir!

      Your words of encouragement will help me a great deal. Thank you so much.

      Regards and best wishes

      Reply
  9. Mahathi

    A very good poem Satyananda. I agree with George Winters. The mark of Good poetry is that it flows steady and rhythmic like pious Ganges. All metrical discipline is to achieve this beauty of flow. One who is in the habbit of picking holes misses the real beauty of true poetry.

    Reply
    • Monty

      Not true, Mahathi.
      “One who is in the ‘habit’ of picking holes“ does so because they CAN see “the real beauty of true poetry”; and any holes that they DO pick in a poem . . are holes which they feel to be slight impediments to that poem becoming “true poetry”.

      Reply
      • Maahathi

        Monty, prosody is a guiding line not a grinding stone. Prosody disciplines the lines while imagery embellishes. Finally it is the common reader who sips the real bauty of poetry than a critic who looks for piccadilly by relating the images and visualising the rich imagery. Further as I already said earlier in some othe context one should remember that English belongs to the whole world today, not to US and UK along. Poets of every nation have the influence of their native languages on their English pronunciation and usage. Poets while assessing the poetry of non-english speaking countries should keep in mind these aspects and offer due respect to their poetry.

    • Leonard Dabydeen

      Kudos, Mahathi! And Congrats to Satyananda ji for a well-written poem – good flow of thought, rich in clever rhyme and rhythm, and ‘standard’ metrical syllabic versification.
      And to note, some of us just simply have the painful knack of finding some ‘hiccup’ to grumble about; even to have the gall to tell you English is ‘not your native language’. So extremely out of order!!! We went through this discussion before in this forum.
      For some of us…is a little learning too dangerous? You bet.

      Reply
      • Monty

        So, to tell one for whom English is not their native tongue that English is not their native tongue is “extremely out of order”.. is “galling” . . you fool! I trust that now you can see your words in a fresher light, you can see the sheer stupidity of them.

        And to learn how equally stupid the rest of the words were in your comment . . read my recent reply to Mahathi below.

        And in future, read other people’s comments CAREFULLY.. and in their ENTIRETY.. before you utter something further.

  10. Mahathi

    Monty, prosody is a guiding line not a grinding stone. Prosody disciplines the lines while imagery embellishes. Finally it is the common reader who sips the real bauty of poetry than a critic who looks for piccadilly by relating the images and visualising the rich imagery. Further as I already said earlier in some othe context one should remember that English belongs to the whole world today, not to US and UK alone. Poets of every nation have the influence of their native languages on their English pronunciation and usage. Poets while assessing the poetry of non-english speaking countries should keep in mind these aspects and offer due respect to their poetry.

    Reply
    • Monty

      I think you may’ve got me mixed-up with another commenter. In my above appraisal of Sat’s poem, I didn’t once refer to “prosody” or “metrics”: they played no part in my appraisal. I referred only to several small aspects of diction and grammar (for example, there should never be a comma after ‘good’ in L9: you yourself can see that): and I would’ve made the same referrals regardless of the author’s nationality.

      Of course there are inherent differences between Indian-English and British/US-English. But if a poem is submitted to a Brit/US-English society, it will be judged solely as a poem in that language . . it will not be judged on the native tongue of the author. Hence, you’re utterly wrong when you say that an assessor should “keep in mind” that the author’s native tongue is not Brit/US-English. An assessor judges a poem; not the author’s nationality.

      You also say that one “should offer due respect to the poetry of non-native speakers” . . in which case, I must ask you to again read the last two paragraphs of my initial comment above; and further, if you so wish, to read my appraisals of previous poems by Sat on these pages . . my unabounded, highly-effusive praise is there for all to see; along with my incredulity at the depth of his command of the language. And many other readers on these pages have previously expressed their own astonishment at Sat’s rich use of language in his poetry. So, you’re wrong to say that we “don’t pay due respect”. We do! And part of that ‘respect’ is to treat his poems in the same way that we treat every poem on these pages . . to question what we perceive as faults; and to glorify what we see as cleverness. That, Mahathi, is what’s referred to as ‘balanced criticism’.

      Another commenter above rightly questioned the metrical imbalances of Skylight; and why shouldn’t he? This is a website which promotes metered poetry. But that same commenter ended his appraisal with the words: “Your command of English is much better than that of many native speakers. Nice job!” . . how can you not see what a high compliment it is to tell an Indian that his command of English is better than many native-speakers?

      I suggest that in the future, Mahathi, you should read people’s comments carefully, and in their entirety . . and don’t just take from them what you want to take. And don’t make the fatal mistake of thinking that the SCP Readership is in any way prejudiced against non-native speakers.

      p.s. I’m an Englishman living in France, but for the last 15 years, I’ve been living in Nepal for 3-4 months every winter. Before that, I used to spend my winters in India for many years. Even now, I still go to India for 3-4 weeks every year to visit old friends . . before continuing up to Nepal. I hope this convinces you that I personally have a deep affinity with all things Indian . . and I would never disrespect an Indian’s ability to speak or write English.

      Reply
  11. Satyananda Sarangi

    Dear Leonard Sir!

    Greetings for the day.

    I would like to thank you for your precious insight into my poem. Your words along with Mahathi Sir’s have always been motivating.

    Regards and best wishes.

    Reply
  12. Mahathi

    My pleasure Satyananda and thank you Leonard Bhayya. When we see a beautiful flower we tend to stop and watch it for a while and enjoy it’s lovely fragrance. If we try to count the petals, we are certainly missing the aesthetics and if we go further and crush, we get only a foul smell. Poetry is also like a bouquet. We must know how to enjoy it, be it a metrical verse or a free verse.

    Reply
    • Monty

      The way I see it, Mahathi, there’s no such thing as ‘free verse’: it’s a fallacy. It’s just a term used by those who’re unable to write poetry. They like to use that term ‘coz it contains the word ‘verse’; thus they can pretend it’s poetry.

      What it REALLY is (and what I call it) is lined-prose.
      One just writes something in normal prose, then randomly chops it into lines. And one can perform the chops anywhere; there are no rules! And once they’ve done their chopping . . they call it a poem.

      It’s no such thing; it has absolutely nothing to do with poetry. Lined-prose can be written by anyone . . poetry can only be written by those who were born to write it.

      Reply
  13. Alexander Ream

    very plausible and friendly flow of accents and syllables – this is an inviting poem from the title to the last line. Great work S2, as usual.

    Pray continue.

    Reply

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