Monthly Archives: June 2018

Kariuki wa Nyamu

Confessions

Dear Kanisa,

I know you’ve for long, dismissed rumour

that I’m in love, with that man’s wife!

Well, today I just want to, set record straight

by pronouncing, it’s true!

 

Fine, now that you’ve known, bother not, defending me

specially, when you’ll be called upon, for enquiry

thus I just wanted to disapprove you, and just shock you a little

by announcing, that even the kid she’s carrying, is my work!

By the way, I’m all set for broadcast,

in fact, as I pen this, the Press is at my doorstep, and when cameras roll,

I’ll mince not my words;

I’ll say, how I bewail that, this thing was never mine wanting.

But anyhow, I’ll declare that, it’s great to see her images, cloud my mind all days,

for my heart possesses her; for sure, she’s my breath

Imagine, without her, I feel a void in heart?

Well, I understand, you’re now muttering

‘Bloody fool! Fat-head! Are you nuts?’

Anyway, never you mind, for I know I’m okay upstairs.

Nonetheless,

Now that I’ll have to be, summoned to headquarters, when I reach there,

I’ll confess, I know I’m at fault.

But I’ll tell them whenever I ponder further… my heart skips a beat,

as I do nothing, except crave for that man’s sweet of heart.

Anyway, never mind, for even heaven knows, I’ve never compelled her into it!

 

Kanisa, today when I tell you I’ve for long failed to have power over this thing I feel,

You’ll think I’m insincere, but I know I’m, without doubt, not!

Oh damn this feeling that budded, in terrain of my heart, in I don’t know when!

And further grilling, will confirm how I dread it

thus I even fear myself!

But what should I have done, to put off this disconcerting thing?

 

Anyhow, call me all sorts of bloody f*cking names,

But hey!

Who on earth are you to judge?

 

Sincerely Yours,

Fr Dauting.

 

An Epitaph for a dramatist-cum-politician

Below this

gravestone,

lies late Rt Hon.

  1. Maji Machungumno,

who had a brilliant career

as a socio-political dramatist,

But, politics attracted him, as he

created tragic heroes and heroines,

and so, later in life,

his playwrighting career

sadly came to an end! He

begged votes like anyone else,

and was elected to parliament,

vowed to exercise all his energies

and after polls, he was crowned

a Cabinet Minister, and so, he

devoted the rest of his life to

public affairs, but neither was

he an exceptional politician, nor an

incorruptible public administrator,

only he turned out to be one of villains

in his most acclaimed plays, and

walked on firm earth! Ugh! It’s

only after I revisited his prize-

winning political satire,

that I understood

“Writing is one thing

and enacting is another!”

Fare thee well most prolific author,

Rt Hon. Dr G. Maji Machungumno,

BA, MFA, M. Phil, PhD. Pub Admin, EGH.

If love’s sweet

If love’s sweet

then why this ache of heart?

 

If it’s warm-hearted

then why the cold shoulder?

 

If it’s fulfilling

then why all this emptiness?

 

If it’s pleasurable

then why all this poignancy?

 

If it’s tranquil

then why resort to violence?

 

If it’s full of harmony

then why hills of differences?

 

If it’s all right

then why this iniquity?

 

If it matures

then why does it die down?

 

If it’s meant to blossom

then why do lovers part?

 

If truth be told, knowing you was the most catastrophic thing

that ever happened in my love life!

 

Nevertheless, I’ll certainly learn to live without you

and in time forget that you ever existed!

Girl Next Seat  

           I

Kampala

city bus terminus

the ubiquitous travelers

hastily squeeze luggage onto carrier

A lady offers soft drink

I decline, and instead

stretch out arm for handshake

exposing fingers

one adorned with a matrimonial ring

not so long ago…

 

I overlook her generosity

and solely board Akamba

elated to return home

to my adoring wife and boys

after a year of toiling in K’la

Coincidentally,

She turns out my mate of seat!

I serenely smile at her

as she timidly retorts…

 

              II

It’s pitch dark out there

so I can’t really tell where we’ve reached

I tell you, night safaris are cold!

The girl next seat offers her Maasai sheet

to shield cold

and I, in return, offer chest to lean on

then, thoughts hit me

I recall her gorgeous gap in her teeth

her arresting beauty

her well-built body-scape

that’s now resting on my thighs

and I begin swelling like a frog

how tempting can daughters of Eve be!

 

I detain her infringing arm

my heart thundering

my mind resisting and

(as I recall the fair lady at home

whom I had walked with down the aisle

barely two seasons past )

in a bid to repress combustion

my flesh turns frailer and frailer

gesticulating a moment of fickleness

and shortly

heavy petting ensues

After all, only fire can drive out fire!

 

        III

Next daybreak

at the city in the sun

one and all set to alight

my first impulse is to ask her name

‘Scovia,’ she retorts

 

We part ways

and as I walk along Accra Road

I’m all rehearsing her name

how fast could she rob my heart?

 

Upon reaching home

I consider phoning her

and see whether she reached well

but, on the other side of the line

a man’s voice thunders

“Who’s this?”

 

Ugh!

My heart skips a beat

a long silence fills the air

as the phone goes tii! tii! tii!

 

Oh men of marital ring, what the heck is going on?

Surely, there’re two worlds…

I

I’m Mheshimiwa’s wife

I’ve the benefit of

a seven-digit pay scale government job

I drive a limo worth millions

I report to work not on time

I vegetate in office

I ingest mountains of snacks

I snore at midday

I leave work before time

and hey

I don’t care a damn!

 

Listen people

I live a very lavish lifestyle

in a castle with gold décor, pure gold!

Of course, that’s away from city’s poor dirt

I school my kids in the US

and whenever I catch a slight cold

I’m air-lifted to Cape Town

But, I must say

I’m dead inside!

For I see my billionaire husband

once in a blue moon

he insists, his job is too demanding!

He often jets oversees

deserting me in cold spell

but anyway, our people, let’s re-elect him

in order to maintain my

sky-scraping social class!

 

By the way,

it’s not that I’m selfish

look at it logically

it’s you people who’ll benefit

when we re-elect him

for he’ll labour to see to it that

electricity, piped water and telephone

all finds you in camps

look at it this way

(he’ll make the camp a better place than you found it)

And you understand very well

that all this

is for your own good, our people.

II

I’m the IDP camp’s chairman’s wife

I’ve a big heart in my thin body

I walk miles and miles

on peacekeeping deals

I toil and toil

from sun up to sun set

eat cassava

rest not

and care a lot

 

I exist in a torn-paper tent

with my adoring husband

where we share with a few fowls

our children learn under leafless trees

and now that I’m expectant

I anticipate being wheeled to Level 4 hospital

And, I’m sure I’ll be told

wool hasn’t been procured, again!

Did money end up in people’s tummies?

Ask me not

for I work not there!

 

By the way

Didn’t I tell you that

I’ve never set eyes on Mheshimiwa?

He who assured us resettlement

upon being voted in?

Hmm… Yet I’m sure when

campaign time comes

he’ll reappear to beg votes

and being law abiding citizens

we’ll all desperately declare

“Mheshimiwa Tosha!”

and queue whole day

banking on the promise

of being resettled

Oi, damn the consequences!

 

But really Wanjiku

has your memory rusted?

 

Surely, there’re two worlds…

 

Kariuki wa Nyamu is a passionate Kenyan poet, script writer, editor, translator, literary critic and educator. He obtained an Honours BA Education (Literature and English) from Makerere University, Uganda. His poetry won the National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) Literary Awards 2007 and Makerere University Creative Writing Competition 2010.  He is published in A Thousand Voices Rising, Boda Boda Anthem and Other Poems, Best New African Poets 2015 Anthology, Experimental Writing: Volume 1, Africa Vs Latin America Anthology, Best New African Poets 2016 Anthology, among others. He is presently pursuing a Master of Arts in Literature at Kenyatta University, Kenya.

Personal Email address:   nyamukariuki@gmail.com

Telephone numbers: Telephone contact: +254721595748/ +254735830255

 

 Allison Grayhurst

Safe In You

In you, mystery is masked
by no one’s hood, has grown
away from the tyranny
of world and the gloom
of nations betrayed by
their gods.

In you the inexplicable
takes a womb, a rhyme
from your sweet blood
flowing.

And love, once pale and clay-like-cold,
selected you to partner my hope,
to resemble visions vacant of sentiment
and teach me to abandon
death and ill-nourished joys.

Your love wraps around like a melody
undulating out from your exceeding
intensity, it wraps,
until I surrender, unable, unwilling
to move.

The Last Walk
of the Mayor of Casterbridge

Heaving strange
the pride in my mouth that will not drown.
After all love given and failed, to hold only this body
of a starved finch, gold but lifeless like all else
that has inspired me on. I shifted extremes, bandaged
my disappointments in bitter hate and landscapes
where only serpents were resurrected.
Of my self, I have no virtue to defend, what I have
is impulsive and merciless, and a fortune
that has placed my fate at the feet of a cunning enemy.
That I was saved from the seal of drunken suicide.
That I saw my own image float in the river, giving
seed to a non-judgemental faith, and she, my daughter
(who knew nothing of resentment), cradled my cure
in the compassion of her eyes. I walk with a simple fool
trailing behind who says I was rough
but somehow kind, who seems to show concern
when I stumble and for my face so down,
it will never see daylight again.
He carries me to an abandoned shack
where soon I will die – he, unaware of the killer that I am.
If my daughter finds me, never let her know
the loneliness that drove my desperate deeds or the fear
I felt of losing her natural devotion. If she finds me, t
ell her not to put flowers where I rest. Tell her not to grieve
the aftermath dust of the likes of me – a crushed,
unatonable man.

 

Daughter

Drum, drum
the drake of dreams
and heed the head that
knows it is blind
to all the mysteries.
My hand is here, my
hand to follow. I love your
cleft chin and your strange blue eyes.
I love your laughter at night.
Live like no other has lived.
For you are more than a kaleidoscope,
more than six months of hope and happy endings.
Thank you for arriving, for changing my view forever.
I watch your sleeping face
and feel a thousand souls merge behind your
soft skin. Every day is your birthday, when a new
part of you is revealed like the most beautiful of wonders.
Play with the ropes of many.
I am here, and will always be
yours in love.

 

Stage

No warmth in my
shoes. No gently touching
of my eyelashes.
The crater has left its imprint
and my only child is weeping.
Love has sunk below the line, grows painful as
a thousand papercuts. Why is there this
push into the primal darkness, where everything
is surface and small and contagious? Why can’t
we, of all lovers, overcome?
Touch my fingertips, tell me we can breathe it out
and return to the depths of our true connection.
Tell me we are brave enough to walk away
from this cancer breeding side,
face each other like we use to,
free of defense and the bitter masks
of useless pride.

 

It is not new

to hold out a hand
and find something dead
cupped inside.
It is not love that loves
through essential compromise.
It is God we speak to
everytime we verbalize,
and God will mend even the ones
who think they’re saved.
It is the cracked jaw,
the splintered bone and expressions
of boredom and greed that
disease a child’s innocence.
It is how we deal with the senselessness of being
that makes us either deny or realize
a gift of spiritual wonder.

 

 

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems have been nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, and she has over 1000 poems published in more than 410 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published twelve other books of poetry and seven collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

 

Vlad Teodor Petcu

September Graveyard

The wavy sky is choked with weepy colors of the twilight…
The garden appears ahead on the curvy filthy hill.
A fence, sponged and nippy,
Enshrouds it in sepulchral, perky motions.
On the five corners the torments of Eros are depicted:
The succubus, the queen, the goddess, the muse and the nun.

Upon entering, a livid owl gazes with its big, rusty, bronze eyeballs
On the timorous, mortified people walking by
As if medusa’s snake themselves wanted to carve new statues
To gloom into the chill of the night.
A chorus of crows somber tunes the daily obituary,
While the raven calls the souls for the last tour they will ever do
And widows and priests jangle a slaughtered lullaby.

Slushy alleyways flood the space
Turning faith into a labyrinth with wings of despair
And the soon never to be forgotten, bewitched lair
Wore the most rapturous mask and blissful face.

Yellow fleshless grass and bony thorns grotesquely twist
On broken stones and shattered windows:
Invitation to an unnatural rest in peace place.

Rare trees, shallow and knotty, moan to fill the emptiness with blood and mist;
Dwellings of white rock are housing stiffs forever and a day.
Rotten, kissed by worms, queasy, ivory skeletons waltz;
With their addictive taint, graphite ghosts the cremated air blitz;
Noxious flowers mysteriously desiccate;
Candles repent and commit suicide by melting.

Lighthearted when the gates open with a sharp hissing
I take my leave from the place of ill-fate,
As undead start to grill under the moons presence in the yard…
I take my leave from the impish state:
The September Graveyard.

Amnesiac

Awakened by the fresh taint of autumn’s rusty air
I go beyond time’s rules into a new beginning.
Who am I? What am I? Where am I?

A quill… an alien… nowhere…
A relaxing mist pours thru my memory…
A tender and wild nothing that floods the mind…

Wife… does not exist on the memory lane,
Obliterated by blind neurons… but she… Oh, she…
The little toy mistress shines bright within decadent dawn.

Shackles of forgetfulness take me prisoner. Insane!
Mask, laces, whips, harnesses, corsets, ropes,
Dungeons, castles, caves, cages, heaven, hell,

One and all in one blink appear,
All but one in meteoric snaps vanishes.
Massacred past tells of groovy future.

And the present is so primal and blasphemous:
A fiend in ivory bodysuit and two lascivious creatures
In white, ethereal skirts and blouses and black laced stockings and garters.

They nurture me every day; look after what they call departed memories
That left me as the skin leaves the snake.
To Davy Jones’s locker with the lot I say!

Embracing a weeping ghost like I knew her in forever,
I submerge her in my dreams like the flower I never dared to tame,
A meteor that endlessly falls as it travels towards the unknown doom.

A bottle of blazed absinth and one with icy chilly mint liquor
Stand on the sides of my bed as guardians.
I rise them up and I reunite with other worlds…

Drifting into a celestial abyss
Made of barren muses and nymphs… Ultimate bliss!
I am never coming home!

The hanging man

Beneath the macramé sunny skies, the mystic tree smiles
In death’s grin of enticing laces birthed of zephyr and gods.

Today he will be carved into the gallows skeleton,
A puppet master to play with tainted quills instead of gibbets.

Rusty leaves weep in a threnody sour for the ears…
Blessed requiem with cannibal worms written rhythm.

After the satin nooses zealously decrepit the deed beyond time
A forgotten muse performs an exotic taxidermy from the last breath of a poet.

 

Vlad Teodor Petcu is an apprentice of the tainted quill born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. He debuted all time with poetry in 2014 and has since written both fiction and non-fiction appearing in magazines and anthologies. His first Romanian poetry book – Tenebre Lirice, has just been published in March 2017 at Astralis Publishing House in Bucharest. His works can be mostly seen in Amurg Sentimental, Uscând o Lacrimă, Calliope Magazine, eFiction India, and The Reverie Journal or on his personal blog called Visele unui insomniac.

Ndifreke George

INSIDE DAD’S POCKET
Dad’s pocket always has it
What mum hates most
Few pieces of latex
The pastor had said
They belong to hell

Dad’s pocket always has it
What mum loves most
Few rumpled forgotten banknotes
That slipped out of dad’s slim budget
Mum hugged them with smiles

The reason mum stayed
She saw what she loves most
Inside dad’s pocket
The reason mum left
She saw what she hates most
Inside dad’s pocket

SILLY CHILD
Mum and Dad and my role model
But not the way they kiss
As often as a leap year
With that sound of android snapshot
Like the sigh of a hopeless beggar
Sizzling in the heat of summer’s scourch

Mum and dad deserve a medal
Their love has grown white strands
Perhaps, they need a remembrance
That they are not bother and sister
But I and my siblings are
They should always wallow in a porch of romance

Mum and dad will die together
Everything they do together
Straight and choleric strict
Without the least romantic meander
They think they are couple—
Husband and wife related by blood

A LOVE TO HATE

How could this be?
Cassandra and I ̶ so close
No better pair could ever be
We strutted through the verdant
of nature’s cool, green armpit
Climbed through the mountain to the moon
We sat dangling our feet down the earth
Whispered our dreams to the hopeful twinkling stars
right in our hands and let it fly
along with the butterfly of beautiful wishes ̶ our courier to heaven
We touched the future with our bare hands
showered it with please-come-true kisses
and enjoyed the coldness of the cloud
We sat hand-in-hand
talked heart-to-heart
And showed love mouth-to-mouth
What else could have missed?
Except a golden ring to say no more
But when she hurried away
with the wind to its nest in the east
I saw her gift beside me
A beautiful paper with red and pink
My heart throbbed and I melted
Like helpless paraffin wax before the judgment of hell
She had only come to invite me for her wedding
It was the bell clonk calling for the guests
That called her away
To her anxious husband
She’ll never be mine ̶ not at all

STOP-BORN-NESS
I am the coward
So ineffable and frail
My conscience won’t let me be
Everyone has a story
Mine are just stinging ears
Cos they steps to being a man
I’ve been stubborn to comply
They’ve abused those children
And get away unpunished
Leaving loads on their heads
And burdens in their hearts
Human terrorism on the rise
Uncontrollable multiplication
Sweetness swallows self-control
Result reported in red ink
Puppy begets puppies
Dogs will bark to death
Like the boys have grown into men
Calves have grown into cows
Cell the cells
A track on this menace
Time to chew the cud
A cry to stop-born-ness

QUEST FOR ANSWERS
Rain pours on every roof
The sun confirms this proof
But money falls on some
And denies others a huge sum

Some are born in pain
And from life, get no gain
Some enjoy generational ostentation
Some merry with crumbs of the nation

One meaningful life soon cut short
But the evil ones escape the shot
Evil climbs to rule from top
While goodness suffers a stop

The earth we inherited so free
Now warming from disappearing trees
Man’s desire for invention
Fighting against nature’s intention

 

BIO
Ndifreke George was born and bred in the ancient city of Calabar, Nigeria. A graduate of Geophysics but a prolific writer; his works have been published on Poems and Poetry, The Kalahari Review, The Praxis Magazine of Arts and literature, The Poet’s Community, Social justice poetry, Tuck Magazine and The Antartica Journal. He is also a Volunteer Literary Contributor with Bravearts Africa where he was first published. Presently based in Lagos, he is a fun-lover, dramatist and songwriter.

 

Multidimensional Treatment of Love in “Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart”

Multidimensional Treatment of Love in “Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart”

Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar’s collection of poetry “Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart” does explicate the concept of love from various angles, perspectives and point of views. Love is explored in this collection in a stark and apt manner without losing its verve and strength. Here in this anthology of love poems, the love as such is dealt with in a microscopic way taking into consideration the different aspects of it one after the other. The main characteristics brought forth through these love poems are the divine love as the predominant love present in this world, the bliss that is derived out this spiritual love, love as an eternal and interminable feeling, the love one does have for oneself and others, the incredible emotion innate in love, the real meaning born out of love, the elixir of love, the incidents and events culminating in the final consummation of love, the enduring and endeavouring side of love, the description of love as a gentle breeze, the suppleness of love, the regenerative mode of love, the oasis in the desert sort of love, the love that is conducted with the domain of silence, the relentless and restless kind of love, the rejuvenating reaches of love, the love for the beloved overflowing directly from the heart, the emotion recollected in tranquillity and quietness type of love, the imaginative love intermixed with aestheticism, the love that takes place transcending above barriers, boundaries, borders and limitations ,the bewitchingly glamorous aspect of love, the love related to yearning for the beloved in the loneliness of the night, the love that is enacted in the domain of serenity and peace, the trials and tribulations associated with love, the universal love, the gestures and movements born out of love, the recollective and reminiscent mode of love, the reinvigorating sensation called love, the sparks of love created within the interiors of the heart, the love of past pedigree, the done and dusted element of love, the mutual and bilateral love, the reciprocal and one on one sort of love, the clandestine love, the most defining idea of love, the difficulties and obstacles inherent in a love relationship, the all pervasive love, the unselfish love, the all encompassing love, the most visible format of love, the serenity related to love, the poetic love, the aesthetic side of love, the intellectual love, the refreshingly well-versed kind of love, the love that goes on within the framework of isolation and alienation, the lamentations and despondencies which are the hallmarks of love, the heart wrenching type of love, the love that bestows upon us consolation and consolidation, the location of the love in nature, the genuine love, the bleeding love entanglement, the physical love, the in-depth love, the internal love, the externality of love, the new dawn of love, the love that is blended within the institution of marriage, love as a holistic and comprehensive reality in this world, the love of the divine as well as the world and love as the beginning and the end.
This poetry book is put through the scanner of analysis with respect to ten love poems in it which are reflective of the multidimensionality of the theme of love described here.
The Godly Love
The most important love in this world is the love towards the divine. It is also the purest form of love, in the poem titled “To Goddess of Love!”. The specialty of this love is given sum and substance extensively. The Godly love is the most purged and cleansed sort of love, there is a rare beauty in it. It is a love inclined towards spirituality all the way. It is the most elegant and trustworthy form of love in this world. This love enables us to wipe out all the dark influences from this world, this love ejects out ill will and enmity and this love does have the capability of weeding out the nauseating aspects innate in the minds and hearts of the people. It is a love furnished with good feelings, it is also a sacrificial kind of love wherein even the life is sacrificed at the altar of love, and the Muse of the heart is kept intact without falling into pitfalls owing to this love of substantial nature. The divine love is able to drive away all lustrous emotions and violent tendencies from the heart. This love also brings final redemption to the self stock, block and barrel:
O Goddess of Love !
Pristine beauty
Glowing on spiritual throne
Brimming with splendid elegance
Dispel the darkness of hatred
From heart and mind of the ignorant people
And burn all weeds of their impure and lurid desires…
The Interminable Love
In the poem titled “Oh, Eternal Love!”, love is characterised as a wholesome experience which can never ever wither away or wilt out. Love in fact never wanes or fades. Once it is initiated, love is to be had in such a perennial manner because love is the centre of this universe. Such a constant love is present in all particles of this world. In fact love is the overwhelming emotion in this world. Without the presence of love, this world is a useless and futile place to live in. The eternal love is blended with peace and tranquillity present in this world. Such a love of unending nature is the foundation of the good aspects of life here on this earth. The poet pleads:
In the earthly sheath
Of monotonous moments 
Let me be
Far away
From the weary
And dreary times
Of life
The Real Meaning of Love
In the poem titled “Definition of Love”, two diametrically opposed formats of love are perused: one is linked with worldly scheme of things born out of love and the other is the spiritual love which is a love of evergreen nature. The worldly love is encircled with lusty intentions and carnal desires. Here the individuals do have that orientation towards insatiable needs of the flesh. The sacred nature of love is discounted here. This love of materialistic nature is surrounded by fickleness and pure fantasy; there is no solidity adduced to it. It comes and goes by the drop of a hat. It is in fact a quicksand sort of love. When the physical needs are fulfilled, this love becomes so unbearable and problematic. It is a love of clandestine kind carried out to humour the flesh. This love is solely linked to the ways of this world. Within the format of this love, all unsavoury things do take place such as promiscuity and lascivious behavioural patterns. Love is not something that should be given a shabby treatment. It is not the consumption of the flesh; it is not something to be taken in a non-serious manner. It shouldn’t be confined to an insignificant arena, it is not a down and out emotion whatsoever, and it shouldn’t be treated with disdain. Instead love is the most overwhelming emotion touching upon everything in this world. In fact love is all about life and the various aspects related to it. Love acts as a panacea for all the aliments affecting this world. It is something that spruces up our soul. Love is the highest form of poetry in all the senses of the term; love is a journey and the final destination of it is the divine abode where eternal peace is truly encountered by us all. He avers:
Love is life, philosophy, art and religion
A discipline with transformative power
That ennobles us and elevates our souls;
Love is poetry : the abstract of bliss 
Underlying between and beyond the lines,
A facilitating means to an end for soul
That ultimately melts into the eternal ocean 
Of peace, bliss and the union divine.
Love : As a Foundational Principle
In the poem titled “Fountainhead of Love”, the concept of love is narrated as an emotion having everything in it, a heart that is filled with love does have bliss, joy and happiness in it. A true loving heart can never ever hold any ill will in it; a loving heart bestows us with contentment and satisfaction. When true love takes sojourn or residence in our hearts, we are elevated, ennobled and heightened to a dawn of immaculateness adrift of all worldly desires:
for love alone elevates
our soul and mind
with lofty thoughts and ideas,
taking us to ecstatic heights
of peace and tranquillity
beyond the horizon of desires…

Love of Solitary Pedigree
In the poem titled “Serenade of Solitude”, love is seen through the prism of solitude. There is love within contemplation and reflection. The solitude is a higher level of love wherein love does have that surging journey without getting bogged down anywhere. In the format of solitude, everything is remembered and reconciled with, as a result of which life moves on with the feeling of love intact at the heart. When love is perceived as a peaceful thing, then it spills over into our thought processes and entire self; when love is integrated with the self, nature and love go in tandem and conformity with each other building up this world on the common platform of sustainability. The poet reveals:
Sullen, I brood within soul
In contemplative solitude;
Amid serenades of Nature
And feel soul-felt beatitude.

Curative Love
In the poem titled” Healing Power of Love” ,love is termed as a comfortable emotion for the body and the mind. The individual here is in the whirlpool of the emotion of love. Here love lives on within the self with all the grandeur and viability. When life goes through the inhospitable terrines, love brings succour to the self. When the world and the self are broken into pieces, love is the only thing that binds both of them together as one consolidated entity:
Love never stops at one station
Until it carries and ferries us all,
Soulful bonds and loving ties,
Breaking fetters of gloomy heart
Locked in cranky casket of life,
Love consoles the unheard sobs
Healing the deep wounds of life..!

The Transcendental Love
In the poem titled “Metaphysical Lovers”, love is elucidated as having a higher purpose in life. Here love is seen not in a worldly perspective rather from the angle of cosmic reality. We all have short-lived life here and it is a temporary phenomenon altogether, but the only emotion that allows us to break free from all stratifications of life is love. Each and every moment of our life is to be lived to reach one step closer to that fireball of love, in which everything does have the ultimate end. Love as such can’t be imprisoned rather it should have a free reign all the times. The poet talks about:
Loving each other over there 
In the cozy igloo of thoughts
Like a pleasant rendezvous,
With blissful comforts for souls in love
On the delta of romantic times
Beyond the horizon of territorial desert!
The Nostalgic Love
In the poem titled “Down Memory Lane”, love is associated with one’s own existence from cradle to the grave. The bygone love takes the centre of gravity here. The lovely village where the individual lived in brings up memories of enticing and alluring prospect to him/her. Today such a serene landscape is gone with the winds in the life of the individual. Instead he/she lives in the concrete jungles having to deal with the negative aspects of urbanisation trends such as pollution of the air, contamination of water, inhuman attitude, commercialised dealings, the stifling atmosphere, the feeling of alienation and artificial/mechanical ways of living. Here love takes a backseat, still everything is not lost. The remnants of that motherly love of the past linger on unabated even in this cauldron of inhumanity. The individual’s earnestness to get connected with his/her native land and its lovely ways is still alive and kicking:
The veil of terrestrial distance is blown off
From my heart and mind
Uncovering my deep love for
The flora and fauna, the native people,
Arousing and reviving in me
A refreshing nostalgia time and again!
The Melancholic Love
In the poem titled “Sad Saga of Love”, love attains a melancholic tone and tenor. The individual here undergoes sufferings due to loneliness, suppression, oppression and compression. The unloving environment prevails here in an obvious fashion. Here the individual doesn’t have an option but to be in the shackles and clutches of that unloving arena. The quest to break free and in love is there but that is unattainable at present. The rupture from the beloved takes her into an abyss of despair. She does have to do away with taboos, stigmas and inhibitions to reach that plain field of love. She is restricted and constrained and remains chained into that dark corner without the services of pure love. He poignantly describes the plight of a beloved:
With someone’s absence in proximity,
Her intimacy gropes a friendly pillar….
Love cries in cuddled tears of darkness
To transcend a barrier, age long taboo
For her freedom and salvation forever…
The Floodgate of Love
In the poem “Elixir of Love”, love is explicated as a lost and found thing altogether. Here love is weighed down by that romantic overplay and over smartness, that doesn’t bring these loving souls together. Here distance is also an irritant, so the loving union of the hearts must be promoted and nurtured. Although these lovers can not have that smooth sail with respect to love, even then they would like to have that mutual understanding and one on one relationship in the field of love:
Though we cannot dive together into
The unfathomable depth of worldly love
Surging in the sea of our bosom,
We keep feeling through our wavelength
The romantic ripples and the sweet whirling
Of heart-throbs in mutual bower of the unified soul…
The love poems of Bhaskar Jha do have plenty of gumption and inner vitality in their composition. The cardinal thrust that is seen through these poems is their ability to sway the readers into having that rumination regarding the various dimensions of love so prevalent in this world. These love poems are so life altering experiences. These poems can be guidelines and reference points in terms of how the love poems are to be composed and cobbled together because all these poems have all the ingredients related to the composition of love poems and emotions arising out of the concept of love.
As far as the technique of the poet is concerned, the following extract taken from the Foreword by Dr Amarnath Jha is noteworthy:
“The poems are rich in the use of figurative language. The figures, such as simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration, paradox, apostrophe, metonymy, allusion etc. have been frequently used. The linguistic devices of polysemy (e.g. ‘The flood of tears tears the heart’ in “Sometimes I Feel” (No.43)) and functional shifts have also been applied very significantly. …………….The cohesive devices used in the individual poems make them stitched together in the overall framework of the volume for the sake of coherence.”
Let this poet of tremendous quality thrive in the future by producing such poetic ventures. My best wishes to him from the bottom of my heart.

Cijo Joseph Chennelil Kuravilangad.
Head of the English Department,
Kristu Jyoti College,
Changanassery,Kottayam,
Kerala,India.

BOOK DETAILS

Soothing Serenades : Straight from the Heart (Collection of Love Poems)
Poet: Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar
Publisher: Authors Press, New Delhi
Publication Year: 2018
Pages 114, Price Rs. 250/- $12

The palindromes of pain and elegance

5th vol  No 1 (July 2018)

 

Pitambar Naik: Falter and Fall
Dr Vivekanand Jha
Falter and Fall
A Collection of Poems
New Delhi: Authorspress
ISBN: 978-93-5207-73
Pp | Rs 250 | $ 12

The palindromes of pain and elegance

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash ― Leonard Cohen.” No matter what the season is, it’s spine-chilling winter’s murkiness or heart rending rains, it’s scorching summer’s restlessness or solacing autumn’s bougainvillea, it’s in health, and even in weakness a weaver bird becomes quarantined and finishes the larger task. It burns in the seasonal fires to sing the inner poetry as Leonard Cohen opined. No metaphor but the straw of palindromes; splinters and dry leaves and often the fragments of barbed wire or thorns of hope and a bit of elegance. The little one designs the prescient fabric, sculpts the dream nest and creates a heaven out of it. A poet is no less a weaver bird who knits and sews the canopy of solace, peace and appeasement for life.

Living amidst chaos and nonchalant paranoia, it’s the debris of innocent time and human bodies. What can in fact sabotage an indefatigable heart? What can stop the deluging nectar of chirping songs of a free bird, the swaying romance of the ripe paddy fields that gigue in pin drop serenity and the vast moving genocidal expo of the market economy where a common man gets squelched, and the absence of brotherhood among brothers stirs the poet to ooze his angst and trauma.

Poet Vivekanand Jha a compassionate human who dares to express, delineate and sketch the faces of our society. He tries hard to compose a picture of human struggles, relationships and exchange of heart and mind in real life situation in a nutshell. The juggernaut and the colossal socio-cultural challenges can’t ever discourage him to stop nor can the degrading and aggravated human values and morals threaten his pen to take a pause. The entire collection is a kaleidoscopic landscape and transverse valley of artistic aesthetics. The style of language and tone of setting are sacramental, the rhapsodies and rhythms of his inner heart twang a different voice altogether and that certainly seizes the readers psyche in a hallucinogenic manner.

The poet ventures to gauze and understand the pulse of nature and the depth of exuberance in life. Sometimes he tries to identify himself with the lowly and depressed to sing a sky touching humanistic melic and some other times he composes terzarima for natural flora and fauna: It’s the song he joyfully sings which is solacing like an intimate music and heart touching comfort to any wayfarer-

Giving away
the message of breeze
to every ambler (A Banyan Tree)

Despite all sorrow and suffering, pain and pestilence one should dare to challenge to live a life as an inspiration to many. It’s the time of test that is often phenomenal and unavoidable in the earthly odyssey of humans. His words are simple but rhythmic, valetudinarian but impacting, very terse in saying but unfathomable in meaning, they are in fact not measurable in centimeter and decimeter-

I speak
as I suffered (Believe Me or Not)

Often we metamorphose into aloofness and behave nonchalantly but when the heart and soul joins together, things turn into most relaxing and when life sways with burden and anxieties it takes refuse in divinity.

Embracing the divinity
taking refuse
in the prescient power (Bhagawat Gita)

We live in a world that is full of disparity and disparagement, hate reins us and absurdity falters us, animosity and acrimony persistently engages us in a perennial tussle to keep our vested-interest and hegemony intact. We witness alleged atrocities and human rights violation around us; often instead of taking side with the no people we join directly or indirectly with the haves to suppress the have-nots. And the poet cries bitterly saying these words-

We use the stick
To persecute the weak
We use the flower
To adore the tower (Class and society)

Humanity has been pushed to a corner; it’s being manhandled and bludgeoned on a regular basis here and elsewhere. Relationship is chief market stuff; we are split and fragmented into race, class, caste and other cocoon kind of divisions and classifications. The onus of literature and writers to have been to bridge this gulf between groups and classes but they have utterly failed to hit the mark in recent time. The poet here is desperate and dejected to explore humanity; instead he meets it in a pool of blood and accident- “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry ― Emily Dickinson.”

I found
humanity has met with an accident (Humanity)

My weakness is to look unto you with full satisfaction, to discover the fullest possibilities to be intertwined with you. What can check or obstruct love? Is there any torrential force that can scare away the passion and elixir of love? Love itself is a Tsunami it sweeps pains, melancholy and preserves life. How can a poet refrain from singing a love elegy?

Love is eternal
it sings to eternity
what can be equated to love? (Love)

Grief and sorrow is no stranger on earth, it’s no accident but a part of our life. The poet sings a song of solace and saccharine comfort even at the time of grief. Neither the spine-chilling cold nor the life scorching heat, neither the lecherous and deadly relational hazards nor any herculean catastrophe stops him to sit snugly and sing.

I sing a song of glee
Even in the hours of grief (Grief)

What keeps us going; something that is utterly abounding; that can’t be evaded; that in fact propels us to keep going. Whether it’s an amatory love in connubial living or an alleged elicit love affair; it saccharinely promises, leads to heighten the joy of living. And a lot of promises from both ends ooze the sweetest nectar to be licked-

I am living
only for the promise (Promise)

Where is compassion? What has guillotined the sense of brotherhood? Why are in a loggerhead, what goes wrong? Is there any solution to this in this world? A poor voice, full of frustrations and abhorrence, why are often things not set right as expected, why does a culturally and economically boisterous and robust society like ours becomes wan and pale in many in terms of human development and growth? It’s certainly gloomy and desperate! It’s just because-

Society is led by a band of cutthroats
where innocent bleeds
brutal leads

Life is a serendipity and may be like the terrain cliffs of mountain ranges psychedelic and little brutal as well; it’s the unceasing efforts of man to juxtapose beauty with life. And that engages him to seek divine salvation in yoga.

Yoga a holy deep
to achieve salvation (Yoga)

The poet of “Falter and Fall” is poignant and ecstatic to sing eternal songs, he is indefatigable to portray as to preserve the anachronism to harness a diagonal but perennial season. He drives his thoughts to a different territory in search of truth of somberness. “Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes ― Joseph Roux.” Here the poet takes his readers to inherit the much needed peace as truth. He dares the sordid and brutal hegemony politics and history and points at the treacherous vested interest. Though in several instances he is little abnormal and immature, yet, his journey ensembles euphoria for the readers. The collection is certainly readable and worth praising.

Pitambar Naik was born and raised in Odisha in India. He is an advertising copywriter to earn a living; and writes poetry, non-fiction and reviews books in English to love life to its fullest. He has been featured in journals such as Brown Critique, Spark Magazine, CLRI, Indian Review, Indian Ruminations, Galaxy-IMRJ, HEArt Online, Fair Folk-A Magazine of Fantastic, Tuck Magazine, Indian Periodical, Hans India, Phenomenal Magazine, The New Indian Express, Metaphor, Bhashabandhan Review and elsewhere. He can be reached at pitambarnaikwriter@gmail.com

‘Flowers and Monsters’ : Poems of Atindriyo Chakraborty reviewed by Ballari Ray Chaudhury.

‘Flowers and Monsters’ : Poems of Atindriyo Chakraborty reviewed by Ballari Ray Chaudhury.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote :

In the writings of a recluse . . . one always hears something of the echo of the wilderness, something of the murmuring tones and timid vigilance of solitude; in his strongest words, even in his cry itself, there sounds a new and more dangerous kind of silence, of concealment.

[Beyond good and Evil, trans. by Helen Zimmerman, Macmillan 1914]

 

– This would rightly serve a bonafide specimen towards reading ‘And those other ghosts of love’ by Atindriyo Chakraborty. Awaiting a tomorrow, when the brutal killings give rise to that incendiary text which pursues a deep rooted protest against the raw injustice planned by the state itself,  his relentless advocacy towards a new literary genre allows to bring forth a duologic collaboration of narrative in the poems. More like frescoes, the moving images underlying the text, the constant persuasion of the ‘real’ world outside the poet – justifies to confiscate Barthes’ s fundamentals of authorship –

 

“The author, when believed in, is always conceived of as the past of his own book: book and author stand, automatically on a single line divided into a ‘before’ and ‘after’. The author is thought to ‘nourish’ the book, which is to say that he exists before it, thinks, suffers, lives for it, is in the same relation of antecedence to his work as a father to his child.” [Barthes, the Death of the Author, 1977:145]

 

The poet retreats to a silent refusal and his treatment to the text is more of a commentator being a witness to events happening at the spur of a moment. To cite an example from his poems, we may go through the following excerpt:

 

Wish there was a space where I could let it out –

let everything out

and yet not be accountable for it. So much accounts

and accountancy eats the brain up. I just wish i

could spit fire and poison from my eyes and

mouth and everything else and I could burn

everything and get burned.

 

The clichéd identity of ‘Me’ and ‘Myself’ faces a disapproval from the author. He is a disclaimer, speaking out uncut versions of the ‘negatives’ resplendent with the wounds and blunders, false inhibitions and fear parenchyama, developing out of different changing circumstances. As we read the lines, the commingling gingle of ‘I’ and ‘i’ do hereby adhere to offering a true manifesto of the poet’s confrontation with death and vandalism. His words serve as perquisites of drilling with the dialectics between spectacular commodity economy and unveiling the bleakest of social hegemonic structures within the cultural arena. Hence Atindriyo rejects the captive decorum of writing suave, passive and simply speaking with ‘himself’ in a pensive Eliot mood depicting “every word” as a “mask” [Nietzsche …]

The romance of tomorrows are nowhere. It’s a world of captive recollection of history and the present, social struggles of the Adivasi tribes in Bastar has been the poet’s vehement centres of research and coming in terms with the truer self.

 

beasts that pounce from fore

are easier to fight

but they, who have

clouds & curtains of fake sympathy

to hide behind

while ways of life, aesthetic propriety

and other endowments

that capital brings –

hold control, hold power.

[j’accuse / atindriyo.blogspot.in, Jan 7, 2018]

 

“And i sought to survive.

And may be, just maybe,

I sought the pain as well.”

 

Here three-fold lines with a bold font takes the speaker to the eye of the needle. Together both selves create identities with and without the prerogatives of living or surviving within hostile agencies. One is the seeker of life rotten at both ends, the other also beckons for suffering. Separate lines seem to move in a parallel allegory within structural norms. As an introductory message the poet had said –

“I have observed that things tend to just be there and live and / or die for themselves. that’s funny in a way. i have also observed that people are just like stoned fishes, that’s not funny in anyway. I’m hustling dead butterflies and tiny things that shine up this avenue now.”

[Introduction /And Those Other Ghosts of Love]

 

Being in a “combat zone”,* Atindriyo observed evidences following the protests and struggles of the tribes in and around his localities where canonization and debunking occur simultaneously. The caste ideologies behave as ‘dead butterflies’ or ‘stoned fishes’ as the poet realizes that hierarchy is forever reconstituting in new forms. Hence a multitude of cheap tracts leading to the ‘high’ enlightened and the ‘low’-life acts as a trigger to the poet’s narrative. Each developing moment moves to reconcile and rewind to a new emerging transient new moment cris-crossing different electron pairs in a splurge. No two emergence can be dealt at a time. So, a flux of cause-and-effect order persists in many poems –

 

“Machine place,

Smooth edges, smooth walls, smooth floors, smooth people,

Every thing’s perfect, and everything’s as lifeless as perfection can

Possibly be.”

 

The book centres around lines built too long to decipher a madness that causes repetition, or too brief to evoke a comment. ‘Nothing happens at any cost’ concepts are in–built parabolic movements within the startled cosmos. The age-old quantum mechanics does not apply, no electron theory can be stated as true. All interrogations prove eligible to be instantly dismissed by the reader. Atindriyo cannot be the reader’s choice, because his poems are a different signature altogether. The ‘I’ and ‘i’ are clubbed together, juxtaposed and wildly intersected at many staircases which may signify ways to unmask the signs of language – a  language which we need to speak to reach the eye of the needle, a vocabulary that hides a decadence that cannot be cured. It’s a shame that we are unable to unleash wounds that are created by histories of political power-wars, cold blooded murder operations, furies that cannot be uttered behind sound of silenced verses.

 

Against a backdrop of “frenzied genocide”* taking place in various villages in Bastar, being a witness to “violent systemic clampdowns on the communities of Bastar”,* the uncensored brutal killing procedures planned by the state, pursues a different mode of communication outrageously through logical attempts of a single verb ‘pouncing’ –

 

And i can see the owl staring at me for i don’t know how long

And i can see the city turning into a leopard at midnight

With dark black spots in the yellow blaze

And pouncing at the midnight

And pouncing at the sea

And pouncing at the ships in horizon

And pouncing at endlessness

And pouncing at me

But the window is to be stronger than the city

And i am to survive the city

And i am to survive its yellow blaze and dark spots

And i want it to see me surviving

but for all these to happen

 

Here the irregular usage of lines in a stanza proves a sudden retaliation of age-old violence inflicted on a whole generation to rebel against fascist approaches.  

*[‘Indomitable Bastar – An Eyewitness Account’ ]

 

We may wish to quote from Paul Blumberg in order to understand the impact of fascist politics on the poet who does not tame himself towards submission in desperation. Atindriyo”s some of the conspicuous compositions refute against this backdrop. Blumbergh says – “The main thrust of the autocratic organization is to drive the mature adult back into childhood. The mature individual strives to take an active part in his world, but the chain of command renders him passive. He seeks to be independent and to control his own beahviour, but as an employee he is rendered dependent and essentially lacking in control over his own behavour. The mature individual strives for the long time perspective . . . but . . . his time perspective is consequently shortened. He seeks to achieve relationships based on equality, but as a subordinate, he becomes just that, once again as in childhood.” [Paul Blumberg, Industrial Democrcy : The Sociology of Participation, p.131] On the contrary of this comparison, Atindriyo’s poems like the one in page 9 of the book says –  

 

I will never be a mannerquin – because my gaze can never ever be

as fixed and as theirs are, and my check can never be as cold as

theirs and, ah well

what the fuck am i talking about?

 

– ‘talking about’ mannequins and then negation of the thought communicates in two specific generic ways. ‘I will never be a mannequin’ signifies ‘I certainly can’ but I’m not. He puts the question as an answer, though deliberately inappropriate.

 

As the line begins with a ‘No’, the underlying signifying agent here is a positive “yes” concept. It says – “because my gaze can never ever be as fixed and as theirs are” i.e., the poet here affirms his being a “living” mannequin, his cheeks actually are “as cold as theirs”. A meagre space reiterates to speak “for” the topic, but in the form of  a rhetorical question. Then comes a longer space between lines. The poet continues as :

 

My haiku

was burning

for whatever it was worth.

 

These lines conform to a more realistic truth. A distracted apathy is wiser and more connotative. Here as a symbol growing between the text picture, a sudden and abrupt brevity in line – pattern. Long winding word-pathways seem less in numbers. As if a different orbit comes to light, endangered and punched back to a negligible character. As if doors are about to close at any precarious moment.

 

Yes, its that hour of the tiger again

A shapeless from, a formless shape, whatever

Nothing concrete, just an hour –

….

Lost in eyes that burn the dark.

And nothing else.

And this too, shall pass.       

 

Only a moment, but that would also “pass” into oblivion. Perhaps we should go back to Borge’s parable “Fauna of Mirrors”. The defeated, the destroyed or the subjugated class of people consigned to the other side of the mirror are nothing but the double of their conquerers. But Borges says that, one day that side of the mirror would eventually rise and put an end to the Empire’s hegemony.

 

Pg 15 marks a new turn over. It shows what modernity has in store for us.

“all the horizons

And soon, all will be put out, Whiffed away with one stroke of a hand.

….

People, you see, are a pretty lousy bunch that look similar, walk

similarly

And even talk about and think of similar things.

 

Here words log in to a different game. It signifies a power structure, the way politics works. We may feel this is in a way a caricature of democracy, a grotesque parody which when unmasked, would leave us with the hope of a rational method of execution of power. “One stroke of a hand spells out the paradox of fascist ideology of power. This very political sourcing has been conferred by the people, by “we”. It would be necessary to refer to Jean Baudrillard regarding his outstanding thesis in his chapter “Carnival And Cannibal” :

“It would perhaps also explain the general tendency of populations to delegate their sovereignty to the most innocuous; oligocephalic of their fellow citizens. It is a kind of evil genius that induces people to choose someone more stupid than themselves, both as a precaution against a responsibility you are always wary of………” [Carnival And Cannibal / Pg 15, Jean Baudrillard]

 

The repetition, the observing of ‘i’ and ‘I’ both at the same wave of speech, analogous structural patterns of human expression, emotion and melodrama constitutes a legal detachment of the poet. His pursuit remains undone. He is not finished as the pages end up, instead of trying to pull it to the brim. The poems does not agree to be complete or perfect in timing their end. Things are not yet settled, the market culture fails to furnish you as the reader to this text. When the monitors become a kind of idolatry, we know we have destroyed each of our lives’ ‘original’ – we are only the photocopies of ourselves and that is the submerged parody underlying the title : we have made a ghost of ourselves, and the poet valiant enough, plays a part to that virulent conspiracy.

 

Acknowledgements

 

  • I owe my heartiest gratitude to Mr. Shubham Roy Chowdhury for his special mention of the poet regarding a project undertaken by myself.

 

  • War Diaries / Jean Paul Sartre, Trns. Quintin  Hoare, Calcutta 2005, Seagull.

 

  • A sick planet / Guy Debord, Trns. Donald Nicholson – Smith, 2008, Seagull.

 

  • Carnival And Cannibal / Jean Baudrillard Trans. Chris Turner, 2010, Seagull.

 

  • http : // attindriyo.blogspot.in

 

  • Indomitable Bastar – An Eyewitness Account, Trans. Atindriyo Chakrabarty.  

 

  • Industrial Democracy : The Sociology of Participation / Paul Blumberg.

 

  • Beyond Good & Evil / Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Helen Zimmerman, Macmillan, 1914.

 

  • The Death of the Author / Roland Barthes / Intertexuality, Graham Allen,Routledge 2007.

 

  • And those other Ghosts of Love / Atindriyo Chakvarty, Antivirus, (Dhaka – Liverpool) 2013.                  

The chronicler of lost causes”as referred by Sunday Telegraph, 20 May 2018; Atindriyo has proved to be a meticulous observer of human relationships, culture and traditions linked within  personal perceptions. Being a bilingual poet and author, his research of changing strategies of the government towards the Adivasis of Bastar in Chattisgarh, the atrocities forced on the people every moment and the political warfare that causes the people to struggle for a survival has been rightly addressed in the book ‘ Indomitable Bastar’ : Account of an Eye- witness ( published by Bastar Solidarity Network, 2018. )Earlier in 2015, “Television of the Rotten Soul”,  an anthology of poems of Falguni Ray was published. In addition to these,  Atindriyo has studied deeply the culture and background of the Caryapad, the first specimen of poetry written in Bengali dating back to the 10 th century. His research and translation should fetch a wider readership in future

Dr Ballari Ray Chaudhury, author of 5 Bengali anthologies  alongwith 2 English  poetry  titles, pursued her literary career as researcher. Her field of interest has been poetry, translations of Poems from other languages,changing trends in  the history of Bengali literature with in socio-cultural perspective. After being awarded a doctoral degree, she visited center for linguistics, University of Oxford to work with Prof Aditi Lahiri and Dr Stephen Parkinson in a project  on July 2012. She has been a recipient of krittibas puraskar, the prestigious award given by Sunil Gongopadhyay, the renowned eminent stalwart of Bengali literature. She has been invited as a poet and panelist in the Dhaka Literary Meet this year for her contribution in poetry and research.

A love of life in What if the Sky Falls?

A love of life in What if the Sky Falls?
L B Chhetri

Bhisma Upreti, a well known poet and essayist of Nepal who has several books in his credit, has come out this time with ‘What if the Sky Falls?’. The more affectionate about this creation is that it is published by GREY SPARROW, an America publishing house. It’s a collection of 28 poems, initially composed in Nepali and translated by different translators from Nepal only.

Out of 28 poems 14 are titled from Natural objects such as Rivers, Hills, Seas, and Flower etc illustrating poet’s attachement with nature. He sees deep meaning in these Natural objects and through these meanings the poet tries to establish relationship between man and nature. For example his first poem ‘River – I’, may leave an impression on readers that to the poet the relationship between nature and man is somewhat problematic,

In the flood last year
my parents were lost to it

but, in the very second poem ‘River – II’, the poet reconciles and paints in admiration the beauty of the river, a meaning, to some extent, beyond ordinary people’s observation.

On the rivers,
thoughts and feelings surge, then subside like ripples
their softness settles in my heart
as their dynamism moves towards my feet.

A good reader will notice poet’s sense of love of nature in ‘their softness settles in my heart’. Similarly, in ‘River Tinau and old tree’ he discards the idea of contaminating rivers with ‘tears and blood’ because ‘it washes away all beauty.’ He abhors crime.

Bhisma Upreti enjoys liberating his poems from set of meters and rhyme schemes but his words maintain rhythm with artistic expression. The poems in the collection are short and in some exceptionally short lines are used with frequent breaks (Sea I, Sea II, for example). This provides the serious readers plenty of room for pause and reflection.

Vitality of Bhisma’s poems is undeniable. ‘Black’ for example begins with a single line – ‘I am actually just a color’ and readers stand with the poet and visualize several colors standing in a row -red, green, blue and yellow. These are colors, only colors, but complete and each ‘carrying independent identity’ in them. Color ‘black’ is also there with enough pride of being a color; ‘yes, black which holds all color.’ Poet is dealing with an enormous theme of apartheids, racial segregation and discrimination. Through this poem and others we feel how strongly the poet is associated with the causes and sufferings of the common masses. To me ‘Black’ is the best poem in ‘What if the Sky falls ?”

The key themes woven into the poems in this anthology involve a love of life, question of humanity, identity, hope, social discriminations etc but mostly his poems speak on the theme of disparity and inhumanity. Two more poems in the book are most remarkable – the title poem ‘What if the sky falls?’ and ‘Sea – I’. The poet is worried about the gradual loss of humanity. He fears, one day humanity may disappear from the earth.

Poetry to Bhisma Upreti is life. He wants to express himself through his poetry. He wants to converse with his environment, with nature, with society and even with the god and for that he chooses poetry as a medium. He is sincere to his poetry. In diction he is choosy in the sense he avoids exaggeration. He seems to be reserve on several issues but his poetic voice is consistently in command for the material throughout. The message in each poem leaves an impression on the readers. ‘A Teashop Boy’ seems to be a simple poem of destitute but the poet’s concern is worth noticing-

with no school
what future does he have
and the light to explore it.

The poems in ‘If the Sky Falls’ exhibit a mature style and advanced understanding of the poetic techniques and wordplay. ‘Statue’, though a short poem, tells a great lesson. Man is not to stand like a statue. He is for action. Similar theme is there in ‘River –III’. Rivers are to flow. Human are to act.

Where is the first poem? As per the content page River I is second poem. Is it printing mistake, an oversight? Or, may be the beautiful cover page, portraying picture of Himalayan Range is the first poem (call it a picture poem) of Nature that depicts beauty of Nepal.

(L B Chhetri is a Nepalese scholar, poet and story writer. His books of poems and short stories have been published. He is the editor of Nepali Literary Journal ‘Charaiwati’ and also a chairperson of Kavidada Sahitya Samaj (Kavidada Literary Society))