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February 28, 2021

The mother tongue holds a poet in its grip

Islamabad

February 28, 2021

Although not a successor to a very rich tradition of Potohari poetry, Shamsa Noreen’s book ‘Phul Cheholi Nain’ is a unique collection of beautiful and penetrating Ghazals in that language. The skill of poetry takes us further than language and shows that words can mean so much more than they often express on the page.

The book is a slim one and starts with Hamd, Na’at, and Salaam. This gives an initial sense of what the book is about and the style of writing. There is an element of spirituality in some of the poems. The writing style is also similar across the board and there is a lot of intensity in the use of words that denote passion.

The collection is full of heart and humanity. The poet writes poetry on nearly every subject imaginable. The writing is passionate and a deep amount of feeling the reader feels in every word. It expresses romantic and spiritual love interspersed with beautiful themes in vivid colors.

She definitely has a way with words. Her expressions are vivid. The collection’s content is also greatly diverse. The poet does not only focus on romantic love but ventures into other forms as well. Some verses are deeply moving and emotional. The best part of the collection is that it contains features of the poet’s own heritage and personality.

Together, they cause the reader to reevaluate her conception of love and social life in all its forms. The holy heart of the poet contrives to address all the kinds of love. Delve deep and her feelings and emotions are strong enough to leave their stamp on the readers. It is an unusual version of poetry that makes use of words to create an extraordinary emphasis. Crafty and thought-provoking it is a poetry book to treasure.

No one can invent poetry. People always sing in whatever language they speak. The first language we learn is the one our mothers speak. Just as the mother is our first love, so is her language. It is but natural that Shamsa Noreen is now writing in her mother tongue.

Our mother tongue holds us in its grip in a very mystic way. We are usually unaware of its power unless we immigrate to another country. When that happens, we begin to miss its pleasant warmth and yearn for its recognizable rhythms and cadences.

Shamsa Noreen’s book seems to be an effort at re-experiencing Pothwari as a mother tongue. When it comes to embracing our mother tongue, reading and writing poetry always become transformative. It permits us to discover the tones and moods of words and retells us that language is not just something we learn; it is something we keenly take part in making.