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Review: Dreams that Spell the Light, by Shanta Acharya

So that she may see the world with new eyes, Shanta Acharya begins her collection with an invocation to rein in my wayward senses (Italian Prayer). Many of the poems that follow are reflections inspired by the poet's extensive travels, underpinned by her quest to return home renewed and enlightened. We travel not to explore another country / but to return home fresh, bearing gifts (Somewhere, Something). Aspects of Westonbird Arboretum, a poem modelled on Kipling's If not only pays homage to nature, but also appeals for the awakening of the senses, If you can listen to the sound of acorns falling, / ... / you will be one with the universe, free. Other poems such as Beyond Belief, an account of the Aborigine's shocked reaction on first seeing white men, reveal a keen poetic wit. The variation and breadth of tone, ranging from the wry and playful to reflective and philosophical, is always engaging.