By Jacob Oketch
It is often said that less is more, and Brenda Wanjira’s HEART WHISPERS: poems from the heart and soul lives up to this concept. In HEART WHISPERS, the author has packed her pieces with loaded meaning and yet manages to do so with very few words thereby giving one characteristic of the poetic form-economy of words, some significance.
One technique that the author employs effectively in most of the pieces is that of contrast. Sometimes we see clearly by focusing on the opposite of what we intend to see. Take for instance the piece entitled “Morning at the feet of Ngong Hills”. The picturesque feature of Ngong hills is breathtaking but when it reminds you of the agony of climbing it, the pain becomes quite acute.
The author tackles the theme of love from different perspectives. She does not confine herself to romantic love. There is a piece which talks about the persona’s love for the mother. It is also evident that the persona is God-loving when she talks of her devotion to the higher power. Even when the persona is talking about her partner, she brings in the aspect of faith in God which demonstrates the connection between spirituality and love.
The author also employs parallelism in her pieces where she juxtaposes two disparate situations. For instance in the poem entitled “Pieces of Me”, there is a line which says “The Devil is in my head, so is God”. This technique enables the reader to picture and appreciate the complexity of the situation.
The author tackles many other themes such as confidence, hopelessness, grief, anger, freedom, rebellion, loneliness, insensitivity among others, in her work. All these concerns are intertwined with the theme of love. Indeed, in real life, romantic relationships spawn many other issues, thus, love cannot be perceived in isolation.
The reader will notice that the author personifies nature to the extent that she relates it to the theme of love – she speaks to the moon and she hopes that the stars can see her among other examples. She also employs symbolism in many pieces. For instance, she uses sunrise and sunset to signify the beginning and the end of an occurrence.
This collection will awake the reader to certain inclinations that they struggle with but have not given sufficient time to ponder over. It will also teach the reader how to communicate using few words. Above all, it will empower the reader to cherish their self-power even when in doubt. I recommend it to all lovers of poetry.
Heart Whispers will be launched on November 26, 2022 at Alliance Francaise Nairobi. Copies of the book are available at Nuria Bookstore. (