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On Solitude ...
|by Dr. Sunil Sharma|
The New York-based poet / thinker / translator / writer / administrator / estate consultant Rajender Krishan (RK), in his latest avatar as a poet for a post-modernist / globalized world, offers a rich spread of poems that can be both an aesthetic delight for the initiate and a hermeneutic challenge to those expecting readerly texts in the Barthesian sense.
That ordinary onion can reveal metaphysical truths to a seeking mind and discerning eye is confirmed – so is the influence of Kabir on this idea. Kabir expresses his vision through simple objects that act as metaphors for divine truths for the community of his believers. Onion, like lotus plant, excites the imagination of saint poets and can reveal realities and divine aspects obscured for ordinary eyes. RK finds in the multi-layered humble edible root the dualism of destructible body / eternal atman – a deep metaphysical strand in Indian philosophy. Citing this in English poetry by an Indian-American successful entrepreneur-cum-poet is an act of good faith – and the acerbic, inquiring poet has plenty of that. Very few practicing poets belonging to IWE (Indian Writing in English) have attempted this so far. Most of such hybrid poetry is happy quoting Spinoza, Eliot or Pound. RK changes the paradigm. The metaphysical strain is back in poetry, thanks to his preoccupations.
Look at the title poem Solitude:
Here the gaze wanders from one point to another; the progress is recorded and reported in fast cadence, almost breathless in scope, of the whirl-wind of thoughts, binaries and associations. Finite / infinite; mind / space; manifest / obscured; journey / destination; goal-setting / realization are all hinted at in the lines that move at super-speed and the text itself is broken down in small units as a stylistic device that broadly reminds of the experimental E.E. Cummings and the breadth of poetic inquiry into the nature, experience and texture of loaded concepts like solitude or space of Whitman, Wordsworth and Marquez.
This is an inversion deftly obtained and an expansion of the scope of the poem. The clever transition from the philosophical to the social is a stunning turnaround for the reader who is expecting a discourse on life and human existence from a metaphysical perspective. This is a technique developed by the poet in many of his poems. Neat breaks from physical to metaphysical and vice versa and lead to some questions that disturb smugness and finally, end in the raising of consciousness – one of the primary objectives of serious writing anywhere.
How speech can impact our lives is illustrated in the above lines with the advice that one has to cultivate speech – language – and exercise full control over it to ensure a state of wellness. Speech can lead to harmony. It can disrupt harmony. It can be positive. It can be negative. Its conscious use depends on us. Sermons give enlightenment. Hate-speech leads to mayhem. The Shanti-message by the poet is relevant to a strife-torn divisive world where inflamed words can cause enough destruction and create the other for purely political expediency.
These are stirring lines from RK in search of the intangible, the spiritual, the higher realization. Despite a meditative tone, the poems do talk of this world. He talks of the immediate also in poems like Sandy’s Tandava and Nirbhya. These pieces portray the social concerns of a man deeply interested in community, nation and world. USA and India find echoes in his poetic landscape. Tornadoes or rapes arousing massive anger and protests engage the attention of the alert poet. Death in Kindergarten is a meditation on violence. Wolves, Overpopulation, Kill the devil, Migratory Birds, Misanthropists and other poems reveal a complex mind at work, trying to decipher for itself and us the riddles of being alive in an increasingly hostile world pursuing wealth and power and converting us into consumers for vast international markets spawned by the mighty multi-national companies. RK addresses the angst of a fractured and isolated individual – a middle-class educated professional living in a glass ghetto – and tries to find out comforting answers in a degraded society that has already jettisoned its overarching humane concerns.
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Comments on this Article
07/18/2013 09:06 AM
06/18/2013 08:22 AM
ramara vadapalli v b
06/18/2013 00:26 AM
06/17/2013 08:34 AM
rama rao vadapalli vb
06/17/2013 01:00 AM
06/12/2013 00:34 AM
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