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Wednesday, December 07 2022
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A Review of Poems on the Eternal God

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“That if poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all”, remarked John Keats. Dr. J. Vijayalakshmi is endowed with this spontaneity as a poet. Her collection of poems titled ‘Poems on the Eternal God’ reveals her unswerving faith in the divine. The poems in this collection deal with mundane affairs, on the one hand, and with hailing the divine, on the other.

The poet deals with self-doubt in “Longing”, with self-empowerment in “Faith”, with positive attitude in “Numericals”, and with the antithetical combination of bondage and blessing in “Relations”. The thread that connects all these diverse concepts is divine grace. The other set of poems where the poet sings a paean of praise to Lord Shiva, is marked by rhetorical questions. “The Sea of Faith/Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore / Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled”, wrote Matthew Arnold in “Dover Beach”. Vijayalakshmi’s “Adorning You” and “The Unseen” raise similar numbing doubts, but unlike Arnold, find reassuring answers.

Whether the poet addresses the Lord in second person, or, in a distant third, the epithets she uses to describe Him, serve to bring Him closer to the reader. In this manner even abstractions become concrete manifestations as exemplified through the poem, “Truth and Beauty”. The fact is that the Lord assumes those forms in which His devotees wish to see Him dearly and those forms in which they contemplate Him. Poikai Azhwar hails this trait thus, that He is the clay, the pot-maker and the pot is yet another well-known analogy that brings out the omnipotence of the divine. The poems, “The Omnipotent Shiva” and “Converseness” exhibit similar strains.

Technically, the poems are marked by collocations, linguistic innovations and occasional rhymes. Imagery and symbolism, quintessential elements of poetry find a place in Vijayalakshmi’s verse.

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