Breaking away from overly intricate and inaccessible writing styles  A review of Nasiba Babale’s “The Rain Is Like You.”

Nasiba Babale, an advocate of simplicity in poetry, is known for her ability to shine through in her work. Her poetry reflects this quality by embracing a straightforward, uncomplicated style that resonates with readers. By eschewing complex language and intricate metaphors, Babale allows the true essence of her poems to come to the forefront, making them accessible and relatable to a broad audience.

While advocating for simplicity, Babale’s poetry is far from simplistic. Her work explores profound themes and delves into the complexities of human experiences. However, she achieves this depth through concise and unadorned language, capturing the core emotions and ideas in their purest form. Her poetry’s absence of unnecessary embellishments and complexity encourages readers to engage with her words personally, finding their interpretations and connections within the verses. Babale’s poems often evoke a sense of universality, touching upon shared human experiences and emotions, allowing them to resonate deeply with diverse individuals.

The Rain Is Like You” by Nasiba, published by Konya Shansrumi, is a magnificent collection of poems that beautifully explores many themes and emotions. Nasiba presents a rich crochet of perspectives and experiences through her evocative verses. Let’s delve into some of the beautiful poems within this remarkable gazelle:

The poem “How Eid Comes Away from Home” delves into the emotions of the personae experiencing Eid away from their familiar surroundings, highlighting the sense of isolation and yearning for the comforts of home and family. The poet crafts a narrative that resonates deeply with the themes of separation, nostalgia, and cultural displacement through vivid imagery and introspective reflections.

The poem begins with a stark silence, setting the stage for a departure from the usual hustle and bustle of a home during Eid celebrations. The absence of the protagonist’s mother, father, and siblings creates an immediate void, emphasising the disconnection from familiar traditions and routines. The longing for familial presence is amplified when the protagonist realises they forgot to inform their aunt not to wait for them, emphasising the absence of a shared experience.

The exploration of physical space further accentuates the theme of displacement. The protagonist finds themselves in Iseyin, a location unfamiliar to them. They navigate this unfamiliar environment with a poignant sense of loss as they engage in rituals and preparations that typically involve their mother and siblings. The absence of loved ones is deeply felt, leaving the protagonist yearning for their mother’s admiring gaze and their brother’s playful interactions.

The encounter with a woman at the Eid ground evokes a poignant connection to the protagonist’s absent grandmother, intensifying their longing for home. This encounter symbolises the hope for familial bonds and the preservation of cultural traditions. The protagonist’s response to the woman’s greeting demonstrates their yearning for domestic presence as they reciprocate the salam in a bittersweet moment of displacement.

Religious rituals and language play an essential role in the poem, highlighting the protagonist’s attempt to find solace and familiarity in a foreign setting. The recitation of takbeer, the prayer, and the khutba are reminders of shared spiritual practices, providing temporary respite from feelings of alienation. However, switching to a language unfamiliar to the protagonist further magnifies their disconnection, emphasising the struggle to understand and fully engage with the surrounding community.

The poem’s conclusion accentuates the loss and longing as the protagonist returns to their residence to find no food waiting for them, leaving them uncertain about what to eat on this important day of celebration. This final moment encapsulates the poem’s central theme: Eid, a traditionally joyous occasion, becomes a poignant reminder of the absence of home, family, and cultural familiarity.

Another poem in the gazelle, “Tonight“, envelops readers in a world of intense passion and desire, capturing the intoxicating emotions that arise in the presence of a beloved. Through evocative language and sensual imagery, the poet crafts a mesmerising piece that celebrates the allure of physical and emotional connection.

The repetition of “Tonight” serves as a rhythmic refrain, heightening the anticipation and intensity of the poet’s intentions. It sets the stage for a transformative experience, where the boundaries of the self dissolve in the presence of the beloved. The poem immerses readers in the poet’s desire to be consumed by the experience, emphasising the notion of surrendering to the overwhelming power of love.

The central metaphor of “drinking from the wine in your lips” vividly depicts the intoxicating effect of the beloved on the poet. It evokes pleasure, indulgence, and a yearning to immerse in the other person entirely. The imagery is sensual and evocative, tapping into the physicality of desire and emphasising its profound effect on the poet’s mind and soul.

The metaphorical language continues as the poet describes the strums of the beloved’s hands on their body, creating a melodic harmony. This imagery fuses music and physical intimacy, suggesting a deep connection transcending mere physicality. The poet’s vulnerability is evident as they surrender to the beloved’s touch, allowing their essence to be unveiled and intertwined with the other person.

The poem’s imagery expands further with the mention of dancing to the tune of the beloved’s breath and drowning in their pool. These metaphors capture the immersive nature of desire, where the poet becomes enraptured by every aspect of the special’s presence. The imagery portrays a complete surrender, suggesting a longing to lose oneself in the depths of love, unencumbered by inhibitions or rational thought.

The final lines express a profound yearning to live within the beloved, signifying a desire for an all-encompassing connection that transcends physical and temporal boundaries. It encapsulates the depth of emotion and longing the poet experiences, painting a picture of a consuming love that knows no limits.

The Future Sat Next to the Past” presents a poignant examination of the juxtaposition between the past and the future, capturing the complexities of time and its impact on human existence. Through vivid imagery and contrasting metaphors, the poet delves into the interplay between nostalgia and anticipation, creating a thought-provoking reflection on the nature of time.

The poem opens with a striking visual of an old dusty house as a symbolic backdrop for the encounter between the past and the future. The personification of both temporal aspects enhances the emotional weight of their interaction. The history is depicted as “wrinkled and frail,” suggesting a sense of vulnerability and nostalgia. At the same time, the future is described as “shining newness,” embodying youthful enthusiasm and the promise of what is yet to come.

The imagery of scrambling for warmth amidst the covered sun paints a vivid picture of the little comfort available to both the past and the future. It symbolises the shared human desire for solace and purpose, irrespective of the temporal context. The history, represented by a character rummaging through memories, portrays a yearning to relive cherished moments. In contrast, the future, eager to become the past, remains unaware of the challenges ahead.

The juxtaposition of the past’s dying embers and the future’s fiery flames presents a powerful contrast. The past’s fading warmth represents the memories and experiences that shape one’s identity, while the future’s vibrant energy signifies the drive for progress and the creation of new narratives. This contrast highlights the perpetual cycle of change and renewal and the interconnectedness of the past and the future.

By placing the past and the future side by side, the poet emphasises their coexistence and interdependence. The temporal dimensions, typically seen as linear and separate, converge in this encounter. Despite their distinct characteristics, the shared scramble for warmth and life suggests a mutual longing for meaning and connection.

The Future Sat Next to the Past” invites readers to contemplate the intricate relationship between past experiences and future aspirations. It encourages introspection on the transient nature of time and the significance of embracing the present moment. The poem’s concise and evocative style enables readers to reflect on their relationship with time and the inherent complexities it presents.

These poems showcase the beauty of language and imagery in evoking powerful emotions and reflecting on universal human experiences. They capture the essence of longing, displacement, desire, and time complexities, inviting readers to contemplate their feelings and perspectives. Each poem provides a distinct exploration of its respective theme, offering a varied and enriching reading experience.

Babale’s advocacy for simplicity in poetry aligns with a broader movement seeking to break away from overly intricate and inaccessible writing styles. By emphasising clarity and directness, she reinforces the fundamental power of language to communicate effectively. Through her work, she demonstrates that simplicity can be a powerful tool for conveying profound meaning and engaging a broad audience, ultimately reaffirming the significance of poetry as a medium of connection and understanding.

Ibraheem Uthman is the author of the poetry collection “Mind of a Bard”, a two-time recipient of the National Library Prize and the secretary of the Northern Writers Forum (NWF). Although he majors in the sciences, he considers himself first and foremost an artist who the mechanics of literature and art inspired in general. In his spare time, he enjoys reading & writing poetry, programming, and contributing to open-source technology. His writings have been published and are forthcoming in various literary magazines and journals. He takes great pride in belonging to the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation.