Encompassing the Deep Past and the Far Future
Sanjeev Sethi
RUN FOR THE SHADOWS by Sridala Swami Context/Westland, 2021, 89 pp., 499.00
June 2022, volume 46, No 6

The tastefully produced Run for the Shadows reaches my desk. It’s a happy sign for poetry, for our ecosystem. This is Sridala Swami’s third book of poems. A Reluctant Survivor (2007) and Escape Artist (2014) are her other creations. Run for the Shadows is a bouquet of 46/50 poems (if one counts Three False Starts and a Conclusion as one or five poems).

Sridala Swami is in fine form. Her words ache and assuage me. She is in control of her idiom; she indites with zest and certain naughtiness as though teasing the reader with her renditions. Her poems reach me; she begins a conversation that urges me to read her thoughtfully. Her lines hold my attention.

Testament (p. 70) is a tribute to Eunice de Souza. As it is a short poem, it is featured here. It will help you understand Sridala’s textured lines: the granules of her experience sharply in focus.

From you I learnt

to winnow words

give them room to breathe

silence in which to grow

grass-wild.

 

A single flower

at a difficult summer’s end

will bloom fiercely

and for a long time.

 

There is an oneiric series of three poems ‘Dream: Midnight’ (p. 5), ‘Dream: Dawn’ (p. 32), and ‘Dream: Noon’ (p. 49). The most effective is the first. It is about a mother’s love for her playful twelve-year-old.

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