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I see the patience of Chinars in winter...

by Arcticus


I see the patience of Chinars in winter.
Their autumn flames doused, their trampled leaves
lying flat on sidewalks like crushed fists.
I see the resilience of men, clearing paths with shovels,
making their way through frozen snow.
The songs stuck in their throats overpowered
by the symphony of falling snowflakes.
Yet, the lyrics unforgotten,
whispered every now and then,
passed on
from old chapped lips
to young frostbitten ears.
Preserved for the summer sun
to find them again.


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Fri May 30, 2014 7:09 pm
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Pompadour wrote a review...



Here to review as requested! :D

This is difficult to review, mainly because the imagery here is so freaking powerful. I know this has already been said, but not only are the images vivid, but the base is very, very solid. Kind of like the roots of Chinar, because it lives so long, and because it's one of the highlights of Kashmir, found in nearly every village. So I love how you've described them as patient, and half the time I actually found myself visualizing the trees as people, standing stark straight through the seasons. I've often wondered if trees had voices, and it's so lovely to see that "voice" expressed through poetry. Now, I'll probably be moving from stanza to stanza and dissecting this. There's not much to critique, but I'll try my best!

I see the patience of Chinars in winter.
Their autumn flames doused, their trampled leaves
lying flat on sidewalks like crushed fists.


I like how the first two images almost ... collide with one another. The tone here was very peaceful, and it reminded me of the tranquility of winter, instead of how harsh it is. What's wonderful is that although technically, you're telling us that the Chinars are patient -- that means the winters are harsh -- you don't de-rail and start describing the frostbitten winds and stuff. You stick to the point. Which is good.

Flames and winter -- yummy imagery. I also like how you convey the idea that although the chinar signifies perseverance and longevity, it also bears loss; the latter being shown to us in the fact that it has lost its leaves. Kind of like how life affects people; they bear everything it throws at them, but time rips them apart. It's the way of the world, and nothing can change that. I realize I'm probably rambling here ...

I see the resilience of men, clearing paths with shovels,
making their way through frozen snow.


Correlating the two images? Comparing Chinars to men? Nice. While I admire the simplicity of this bit, I do think the image is weaker as compared to the first one. Maybe because the reader can't really see the comparison? Or maybe I'm looking too deep into this, and the scene actually depicts something different? That's one of the things about poetry; it means something different to each person! I do think you could strengthen the relation between Chinars and men, though. The length of the poem is one I'm perfectly content with, but if I might make a suggestion, you could go for stronger visuals here. Not the typical ones, like comparing roots and stuff to strength, but the way the roots are anchors, carving through the frozen soil, which is quite similar to the clearing of paths with shovel action you've got up there. It's be like playing with the whole, "I see" aspect of things as well, because you and the reader are both moving beyond the ordinary state of mind and entering a state that is both deeper, and sees that which remains unseen, but is ever-present. The same goes for the next two stanzas, because the imagery is sort of seen as weaker, considering how immensely powerful the first few lines were. Draw Chinars back into the reader's mind; signify their presence by reminding the reader of their strength and their fortitude!

Yet, the lyrics unforgotten,
whispered every now and then,
passed on
from old chapped lips
to young frostbitten ears.


I've always thought of poems as paths, and the reader as the observer who treads upon the foliage and the copse. Eventually, you leave a certain part of that path behind, and change direction. This part of your poem was, I felt, that "change of direction." And while it's subtle, I miss the chinars already! *sigh* I do like this, though. Reading this, you reminded me of how legends are passed from generation to generation. They live, despite the changes this world faces, natural or otherwise. And once again, my thoughts tweaked back to the tree with which you started off the poem, because it lives, too, despite the gruelling winter. It's traditional, a part of custom. It's as well-known as these stories that live on, being passed by word of mouth, and here I felt that you could use some elaboration, and create a link. It's like a circle, straying far from the center, and yet -- and yet all circles must be completed. So add a line or two? Bring us back to the chinar, which stands alone, but when summer comes it shall live again? There's so much you could do with this, really!

Okay, so coming back to technicalities, I didn't find any grammatical errors whatsoever. The beginning flowed better than the end, I'll admit, but the tone you maintained throughout the piece was simply lovely.

I hope this helped.

Keep writing! Long live ze chinar!

~Pompadour

(On a completely unrelated note, I prefer Chinar to Boonyi -- that's what it's called in Kashmir, right? -- since chinar is technically an Urdu word and more understandable. It's also more poetic-sounding, but meh.)




Arcticus says...


You're amazing.

Thank you so much for this :)

I've heard of 600 year old Chinars that are still alive and majestic, they're just so graceful. 'Their autumn flames' mentioned in the poem is basically a reference to the fiery crimson color that their leaves turn to during autumn (what Urdu poets call 'Aatish-e-Chinar').

Also, Chinar is probably a Farsi word. Boo'in is what they call it in Kashmiri. But yeah, thanks to your 'local knowledge' :p you saw through most of the metaphors that I've used.

Thanks again for this review. I owe you one; so if you ever need a review just ask for it.



Pompadour says...


I botched up the word. :P Boo'in -- I'll remember now.

And no problem! I'm always up for a good read. ^_^



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Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:30 am
DreamWork wrote a review...



Hi shoaib,so here is Dark to give review on your poem.

I actually like the theme revolve around Chinars strength during the winter.The strength and perseverance of them can be seen through the verse here.

#I see the resilience of men, clearing paths with shovels,
making their way through frozen snow.--->You use a very strong diction here which also have an impact on the reader.

#The songs stuck in their throats overpowered
by the symphony of falling snowflakes.
Yet, the lyrics unforgotten,
whispered every now and then,-->Although they seem to have lost hope, but deep down their hearts still remember the lyrics of the song.Means ,they still have hopes to hold down into their soul.This meanings to much to me.Very well-written here!
I love the end too.It seems like they still looking for their hope.
#Preserved for the summer sun
to find them again.
Overall,you really doing a good job here.Well done!
Kudos,cheers
~Dark




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Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:05 pm
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Messenger wrote a review...



So I liked this poem a lot, it was really well written.

The songs stuck in their throats overpowered
by the symphony of falling snowflakes.

Their autumn flames doused, their trampled leaves
lying flat on sidewalks like crushed fists.

I really liked those parts, especially how you used the words 'crushed fists' to explain the leaves. It's so unique and adds cool touch to your poem.

Yet, the lyrics unforgotten,
whispered every now and then,
passed on

Those lines just don't get seems like they are from the same poem. They lose the descriptive words you have in the former lines. Overall it was a good poem, and I really enjoyed it.
Keep it up!




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Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:59 pm
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Tenyo wrote a review...



I agree with Lauren. The imagery here is very powerful.

It's nice timing too! I'm starting to feel a bit lost now that summer is over. I like the idea of sitting and waiting patiently for spring to come again.

There isn't really a line in particular that I could say is my favourite. I'm fascinated by the second half though, the idea of a song lying dormant almost like it's hibernating, and how the trees (I assume that's what Chinars are) have to be patient. It's a beautiful image.

I don't think I'd want to find anything to pick on. I enjoyed reading this a lot, so keep up the good work!




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Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:36 pm
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Lauren2010 wrote a review...



Hi shoaib!

This is such a lovely poem. The imagery is crisp and powerful (I especially liked the second and third lines!). You obviously have a nice handle of language in this poem, and I can't point out many structural or grammatical issues that disturbed my reading of the poem. Wonderful job!

There were a few things that did bother me, though, and these are mostly in the flow from one image to the next. While the language is beautiful, the imagery loses me from about the sixth line onward. I understand what is happening, and what is being described, but the meaning isn't as palpable as perhaps it should be.

Of course, poetry comes with some level of mystery in the way that you have to dig into a poem to really "get it". Even so I think there is something lacking here. My problem centralizes, I think, around this idea of a song being passed on. Yet, we're not able to determine what this song signifies: a way of life? A reminiscence of a happier time (summer/warmth/etc)? A duty that correlates with a season?

This image could be so powerful, it just feels like it needs one more line somewhere in there to clarify the metaphor enough that the reader can feel it and begin to investigate it. Overall, this is a very lovely poem and I very much enjoyed reading it! Thanks for sharing!

Keep writing!

-Lauren-





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