Introducing Saumitra's poetry to an English-relishing audience is like reliving its flavor a few years ago in Hindi when these very poems caught the print eye of an eminent publisher, Bharatiya Gyanpith. Saumitra’s selection was not only published from there but also bestowed the Navlekhan Award, and these poems have been expertly translated by Dhiraj Singh, who gives a Midas touch of his pen when moving from one language from another.
Saumitra is, by profession, an engineer and by passion, a poet. He has moved away from India, but his sensibility is filled with boyhood memories and tender moments of his youth. With an economy of words, he expresses himself in short verses that look like a map of his moods.
All aspects of nature find expression with Saumitra so much so that he emerges as a friend of live landscapes, changing skies and the smell of raw mangoes. He has a Wordsworthian involvement with nature and with the simple sweet voice of humanity.
The translation by Dhiraj Singh is equally sensitive and soulful, conveying the author’s creativity convincingly. To quote the very first poem:
Calls out to her
But she chooses
Her tree and sits on it
She chooses and sits
And that is all
There is to it."
At first sight, these may appear to be single-focus expressions, but when poem after poem you come across sensitive lines like these, you are bound to feel involved.
"I am a bird
Let me laugh
In your skies
Have fun in the furrows of
And your shimmering
Poetry is not a sealed-off entity of nature alone. We live in an urban world, and our concerns are city-bred. Then what impacts our young poet to focus on greener landscapes. Actually, this appears to be Saumitra’s retort to the mechanized, mundane metro culture that leaves us myopic to personal pleasures and the bounty of nature.