Book Review 2 : Secrets of the Soul

I picked up ‘Secrets of the soul,‘ by GS. Subbu after reading the author’s review on my own book ‘Roads- A Journey with Verses.’  His more than perfect analysis of the book – from cover to cover, delving into what we, as poets’ might have thought as we wrote each poem made me curious to get a peek into his own mind. And what better way to do this than to read his book of poems.

The book, ‘Secrets of the Soul,’ is a work spanning four decades. And therefore touches a myriad of emotions that comes with growing up- with poems that were written by the poet as a youth in his twenties and then written as part of his journey through life . The poet has bared his soul in each poem and this is what touched me, as a reader and I genuinely felt there could be no better name to the book than, ‘Secrets of the Soul.’

The cover is intriguing just as the soul is – deep and mystical – like a fire burning and there are eyes, though they are closed. There is a lightening between the eyes which I thought denotes the intuition or the opening up of the soul with time and experiences.

secretsofthesoul

There are so many poems in the book that I would have loved to share here but it wouldn’t be right. I hope  the ones I have shared are enough to make you want to pick up the book.

I  give the book 5 stars for the flow, the softness with which each poem is delivered and the rich imagery. I enjoyed the journey I took with the poet through this book and look forward to reading his other books.

More on the poems

I felt each poem flowed like a mountain stream – crystal clear, cool and refreshing.  This is the kind of poetry book that stirs the reader’s soul. It left me thinking and inspired me as a poet to write more poetry.

While I had written the review a few days’ ago, I decided not to post it until I felt sure of how the poems had made me feel. I wanted to see if the verses stayed with me, long after I had closed the book. And unsurprisingly, they did –

A few days’ ago, when I was having a regular conversation with a friend I ended up sharing some of the verses from this poetry book, with her. We were looking out of her balcony – and seeing the shanties below. It reminded me of the poem ‘Ghosts ‘ – from the first section with the same name . The poem describes the spirit hovering over Mumbai – one that watches silently as the common man on the street carries on his life- is witness to his struggles,  his celebrations and failures. The poem is surreal.

And the man sits

On a bench outside;

Oblivious of the heat inside

And the burning cauldron.

Far away on the ground,

I see the ghost,

It dances all around,

Leaves no footprints on the sand.

In the same section, I  also liked the imagery in the poem, ‘The Wall.

He sat watching

The lizard on the wall;

Creeping, crawling,

Towards its prey.

The other sections in the book are – Rapture, Rebecca, Fragments and Secrets of the soul.

Reading the section ‘Rapture’ and ‘Rebecca,’ reminded me of my own poem, ‘This is Me. This is Me too.” I knew  the poet to be a retired banker who had held a senior position in banking.  Knowing the other side –  a side  that is humane and replete with emotions and is appreciative of all the beauty around him was interesting.

The section, ‘Rapture,‘ talks of all the experiences that have evoked a sense of surprise in the poet and have left him in awe of the creator. The poem by the same name holds the secret  as to why millions of Hindus pray to a stone (idol). Reading it was like an answer to a religion that poses so many questions. The poem flows like a chant- soothing and mystical.

‘I marvel at these men who mould,

Stones that speak of ages old,

All the fervour of their heart,

Has poured in through their supreme art.’

‘Sometimes when to these heights I soar,

I feel this fever more and more,

And in delirium I do rant,

All this fervor’s magical chant.’

The poem ‘Night,‘ reminded me of my own poem, ‘The Night is my refuge.‘  The ‘night,’ has been a muse to many a poet and it was interesting to see how differently the same night had inspired this poet.  GS. Subbu also writes about what a visit to  the heritage sites, ‘Ajanta,’ and ‘Ellora,’ make him feel.  Reading both the poems, makes me want to see these places. I have added them to my bucket list.

The short and simple lines in these poems add to the wonder that the poet feels, at the sight of the caves.

‘It was in Ajanta,

That I peered into a dark chamber.

There sat the Buddha

Steeped in divine slumber.’

The title of the section, ‘Rebecca,’ reminded me of Daphne Du Maurier’s book, ‘Rebecca,’ and I wondered if it had been metaphorically used to talk of unrequited love. Without being gothic like the novel, the poem talks of lost love, angst and the pain of losing. The below verses are taken from the poem ‘Rebecca.’

‘It was a short and sweet affair,

Though I know she does not care,

I’ve been consumed into her flame,

Now it’s my ashes that remain.’

Here’s another touching verse from the poem, ‘Roses in the garden’

‘Something irks,

Once again, I feel restless

As I see

The roses in the garden.

It was last year,

In a similar setting,

I had written poetry.

And she was there in front of me.

The book ends with the poem, ‘Absolution.’ There couldn’t have been a more befitting end. 

‘I stand exorcised

Of the ghosts of the past,

That haunted and hounded me.’

Any writer would be able to relate to this. Once a writer writes, he or she does stand exorcised. No wonder writing is therapeutic.


The book is currently available on Notionpress and costs Rs.150.00.

It would be nice to see a kindle version of the book so it reaches a wider audience which I think the book totally deserves.

To follow the poet, you can click on the below link Sublimation .

Happy Reading!


What the author says about himself

GS.Subbu

An Engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, by qualification and a Banker by profession, he retired from the State Bank of India in the year 2010 and settled down in Chennai. He is the author of three books – ‘I am just an Ordinary Man’, ‘Darkness and Beyond’, and ‘Autumn Leaves’. His writings range from the deeply philosophical meditations to depicting the inherent humor present in our daily lives, from an appreciation of art to writing poetry and doing book reviews. His other interests include painting and music. The poems in his latest book ‘Secrets of the Soul – A Journey in Verse’ effectively trace his thought process from an adolescent to an adult and taking him through on a quest to understand the existential dilemmas and move towards resolution and acceptance of the fact that we have to live with which he calls ‘Secrets of the Soul’.

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7 comments

  1. Thanks a lot Smitha for your wonderful review of my book. You have delved deep into my psyche by travelling along and understanding my journey in trying to unravel the meaning of life. I guess it takes a poet to understand a poet. Your book reviewing is honest and does justice to the author. I will explore your suggestion to make the book available on Kindle. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The book is precious. And I’m so glad you feel the review matches up to the book 🙏. It was a pleasure reading it and I wanted that to show in the review. Your comment has left me relieved.
      Yes, please explore Kindle so there is greater reach.

      Like

  2. Smitha, I like your review that seems to stem from the soul… as if the secrets are known to you but that is the beauty of this genre, it creeps within and stays there long after a poem has been read. I wish I could reach this book and look forward to the Kindle edition. I hope Mr. Subbu is listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much🙏. You’ll love the book. It’s exactly as you’ve mentioned ‘ the secrets were known to me,’ and I came out wide-eyed and thoughtful. Am so glad the review caught your interest. Mr. Subbu has replied that he is looking at the Kindle edition now. Thank you again for the share on Twitter❤

      Liked by 1 person

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