Book Reviews

The Yearning of Seeds

“The Yearning of Seeds”. Author : Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih. Publisher : Harper Collins (New Delhi 2011). Pages : 149. Price : Rs. 199/-.

Among the Indian poets writing in English today Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih has a quality or element which is a rarity. It is that of humour. Starting from Nissim Ezekiel’s “Very Indian Poems In Indian English” Nongkynrih continues that tradition in poems such as: “Mafa Goes to the Market” and “Lines Written to Mothers Who Disagree with Their Sons’ Choices of Women”. The humour is both witty an acerbic.
Nongkynrih has a range and flexibility which is his poetic ‘credo’, from Shillong’s whispering pines, to love songs and a distinct elegiac mode. He can wander lyrically to other areas of North East India as in the poem “Khangchen – Dzonga”. “When the Prime Minister visits Shillong . . .” is tinged with sadness; “Only the bamboos watched in silence” (Page. 11). There is also a poem on Jorhat in Assam.

The playfulness and buoyancy continues in poems such as “The Dentist”, or “The Condoms” which at the same time speaks of the duality and hypocrisy of the glorified self. His fequent digs at women do not evince a sense of male chauvinism but rather a feeling of misplacement; and that of being cheated (”The Graffiti”). Nongkynrih celebrates the seasonal cycle of his home land. In “Weiking” he dances melodically to the rhythmns of this thanksgiving spring festival, held every year in Spring, in Meghalaya.

The three sections of the book: “The Season Of the Wind”, “The Fungus” and “The Sweetness Of Plums: Haiku And Senryu” perhaps typify seasonal cycles not distinctly as Summer, Rains and Winter but enmeshed in each other’s being.

In the third section of the book, in: “Haikus” Nongkynrih displays his craft, dexterity and cleverness as a poet. His Haikus in the third section of the book play a stellar role in giving this collection a novelty. They are not only well crafted but are notable for their sensuousness: “succulent plums, the flesh fragrant and sweet – sour at the core”. . . “rain for days – only soldiers’ clothes flapping on a sagging line”. (Page 141)

Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih’s poems are endowed with sensuality, satire, humor and social concerns. They can be deeply personal as well as detached. These attributes give to his poems a range and typical flexibility. They are lyrical as well: “Winter that sneaked into these hills on the tenth moon has consolidated its stay beyond the cherries. Christmas like winter comes again and again seducing our hearts with promises of heaven”. (“Winter Song” Page 31) There is a gentle music and lilt in his poetry although there can be bravado: “The multi-lane Shillong by-pass had miraculously by-passed constructin for years”. (“Shillong By-pass” Page 74)

The collection leaves one gratified to taste his poetic impulses; range and flexibility as a poet. From love, politics, satire and the world of Nature typified by his home land, Nongkynrih emerges as a very astute craftsman chiselling horizons of poetic edges with every poem. What is striking in his poetry is always an after thought as the poet can infuse the lyrical with the satirical, the humorous or love or the political at the same time: “Beloved Sundori Yesterday one of my people Killed one of your people And one of your people Killed one of my people Today they have both sworn To kill on sight”. (“Sundori” Page 12)


More by :  Ananya S Guha

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