Review by g emil reutter
Vinita Agrawal is a poet of honest observation who is an imagist at heart. The poem, Wrought By The Storm is about having tea with her father, the death of her mother is central as in this excerpt:.
The storm struck our prayer bell
Shook the Gods at the altar
Caused the fan to whir anti-clockwise
Jerked wildly in our pulse beats
Skewed our outer expressions of calm
Flickered like fear in our eyes.
She captures in stark images those left behind in economic prosperity and social reform in the poem, Pedder Road Flyover:
Here they lived – under the canopy of opulence
on a road named after Mr. W.G. Pedder,
a British Municipal Commissioner of 1879 Bombay.
Politicians changed the name to Dr. G. Deshmukh Marg after a social reformer.
But somehow the families here still picked garbage,
waded around in stench, did death’s work,
stayed alive only because cholera was dead.
If you ventured out at the devil’s hour,
you’d have heard them groan into the darkness
as at last, traffic dimmed around three in the morning.
A few hours of oblivion must have felt good
with loyal street dogs curled up warmly by their sides.
In the poem, Jovan Musk and Tiananmen Square, Agrawal writes of being there during the uprising. Of
…The screams of raw blood flooding a public street
Unaware, that on its silver jubilee, I’d be reminded with deadly hurt
Of what it was like to live in oppressions long shadow
Azadirachta Indica is a poem about the shade of a Magosa. How they populate most courtyards in India of her walk with a doctor and the dangers of the Magosa and then:
Watch, he said, and picked up a golden yellow seed
popped it between his thumb and forefinger until oil oozed out.
He poured it on a worm down below, stunning it.
It retreated hastily. Didn’t stand a chance.
Later, I dipped my sins in it,
hoping it would cauterize tissues of guilt
sterilize thorny voices in my head
that accused me of being unclean.
From the poem, Time Lag
Despite loess caressing the roots
and the damp, earthy aroma of trees,
a brokenness clings to the winds;
fresh as a pistil that has just lost its flower.
Despite the wet tissues made of air and rain,
the tree branches look fractured
their leaves pale like pinched skin.
Vinita Agrawal is a well-traveled poet who takes in all that she observes. Her honest and passionate images cause a stirring of thought and a desire of action. She is an urban poet who writes of the stark realities of the world and of her own pulse beats and broken drift wood of the heart.
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-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. You can find him here: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/