Tempest of time (poems)

-Kondapalli Niharini

Translated by Elanaaga

A preview

         Poetry mirrors life. It’s a true reflection of life in discernible hues. Therefore, it is aptly said that poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash(Leonard Cohen). Covid-19 pandemic in the recent past has created an unprecedented impact on the mankind, a devastating experience that left an imprint on the human psyche. The poets across the world have come out with vivid accounts of the catastrophe in their poems. Dr.KondapalliNeeharini, one of the finest voices of Telugu poetry, has been able to capture a true account of the human miseries and the sad spectacle of life on the face of the tragedy  in a most aesthetic narrative. The collection has aptly been titled ‘Temptest of Time’ in its English translation by the eminent poet and translator Elanaaga.

         It’s a unique pleasure on my part to get introduced to Telugu poetry for the first time through this beautiful piece of poetry. Dr.Neeharini is an acclaimed poet and academician and thus proved her credential once again in master craft of poetry. Her articulations are quite matured and are capable of keeping the readers engaged. As a true poet she is used to play with words at ease. In her own words:

         “Like a heroine in the play of my words,

         like the sweetness in the cuckoo’s song,

         I am arriving with spring’s grace as the Mother Natur, as Sarvara”.

         The poet has exhibited an insightful account of the pandemic in her poems that evokes a mixed feeling of sorrow and sympathy for those who suffered most during the distressing time.

         “Like the answerless questions

         that don’t yield to life’s grammar,

         they are continuing their walk”.  

         The silent procession of the migrant workers from the far off cities to their remote villages hundred miles away amidst unbearable hunger and fatigue has been reflected in the poems quite vividly. The dark nights of those days still haunt the mind. The time was so cruel that death was a common sight and nobody knew who was to come next. Those savage and suffocating moments can never be erased from the memory.

         “Death is walking fast like floods

         that inundate corpse-filled streets

         what is this dark night whispering” ?

         For the Poet, the death is not frightening anymore, but its’ about the future, the life. The poet is always a silent spectator of time, the tormenting moments and the maladies of life.

         I am time ;

         I am the life that cannot return.

         I am a quiver; a burnt heart of charmless jungle devoid of moonlight

         The plight of the common man, the migrant labourers and the farmers never escape her scrutiny. She has depicted the miserable condition and exploitations of the farmers in spite their immense contributions to the society.

         “He has to escape from many a thing;

         the plunder of markets that have methods,

         unsprouted seeds, meager yields, pests.

         Natural disasters, spurious pesticides,

         merciless brokerage, unstable prices as well”.

         It is said that poetry involves the discovery and presentation of human experiences that are satisfying and appealing. In a sense it is a self-discovery and at the same time, a process of exploring the life and the nature. Truly poetry is an art of rediscovering the self and the poet goes on discovering the meaning of life relentlessly through her musings.  The poet expresses genuinely and sincerely her experiences of nature and the inner feelings of others realized through empathy.

         Dr. Neeharini is at her best while portraying the nature and nature got personified in her poetry.

         “Peacocks wait for moonlight

         sages await salvation”.

         Poets have very often used nature to express their emotions and thoughts about life, death, love and war. Here the poet has excelled in narrating the philosophy of life through nature. The Poet is not a hardcore feminist but she has immensely brought out the women centric themes in her poems very candidly.

         “As College life commences,

         male eyes, hunt for girls begins”.

         For her the woman has the onerous responsibility to unite and nurture the family like weaving a poem, which needs more care and compassion. The beauty of her poems lies in her ability to turn the ordinary experiences of life into extraordinary poetic expression.

         “When a cloud is born and becomes tears,

         We turn into boats reaching the shore.


         When life becomes a question mark,

         All the world has to suffer from hunger.”

         The Poet keeps waging war by shooting with sharp arrows of syllables and transforms the life into an art of creating poetry. A true poet transcends time and no wonder, Dr.Neeharini is capable of doing so through her poetic journey.  My best wishes. 



1. Spring’s Splendour in Man’s Wailing

Like a heroine in the play of my words,
like the sweetness ofa cuckoo song
I am arriving with spring’s grace.
Quit all the laments,
greet me with sweet choruses

I’m arriving as the year Sarvari;
greet me with hearts, full of peace.

The sky matches only the sky
This lamplight became a metaphor.
All the spirit of thinking is
taking shape beautifully as expected.

As the entire green earth is
heartening with its talk,
man’s vileness turned a microbe;
sham he is outward.
Usurping slowly and singing
destructive ragas of disagreement.
I am a cheering lullaby for you.
As your mother and the Mother Nature
I want these peril flames to abate

You are unparalleled.
The splendour of your wisdom,
diligence would become a solace;
turn conducive to well-being.
If you have an accurate action plan
and the wholeof humanity is full of tolerance,
you would become a cooling emollient.
Flames may be raging within you though.
Get past this summer heat,
listen to the rain songs;
drink the ensuing autumnal moonlight.
Visualise the winter season as well
to discern the core nature of every falling leaflet.
Caress the hearts of all trees;
perceive the sprouts that would appear later.
Delve into yourself, comprehend the truth;
I willsend you gleefully into Pallava,
which would arrive like an offshoot of hope.
Start with yourself with the things
that you are supposed to do.
Abandon isolating others,
bid adieu to conflict opinions;
consume theright food and cleanse yourself.
I will then fly in as everybody’s pigeon,
wouldbecome affection for you all.

His nature and hers make
the same dream of equality.
Want to dispel the dreadful occasions
affecting hundreds at first
and spreading later to thousands?
Then turn yourself into a suave person,
emblem of purity, good mannered soul,
selfless being, one who is a family by himself.
If you adhere to the flourish of mankind, to trees,
you shall see and listen to only the
spring’s splendor with no laments.
It will fill your eyes with
the trustworthy world of beauty and health.

Like a heroine in the play of my words,
like the sweetness in cuckoo’s song,
I am arriving with spring’s grace,
as the Mother Nature, as Sarvari.
Coming as the year Sarvari;
greet me with hearts, full of peace.


(To be continued-)

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