Book Reviews

Short, Simple and Sweet

Lallan Prasad, Evening Delights, Partridge India, 2014

Evening delights are not the same for every one, at every age and every frame of mind. The title is enticing and at the same intriguing. Vajpayee’s remark carried on the blurb speaks about the poet’s poetry both in Hindi and English too. A good poem makes one think, look within and look around afresh. Poet Lallan Prasad retired from the University of Delhi, Department of Business Economics which he started. His poems are those of a very experienced, serious minded senior citizen. There are poems on nature, rivers, mountains, trees, birds besides human nature in its multiplexity. One of the earlier poems in the collection sets the tone and tenor of the poet’s thought and expression. The evening delights in this book are those of a very profound man in ripe fruition.

In search of peace
Love and harmony
Two hearts meet
The sky and the ocean
Greet each other
Distance gone. (An Evening Delight)

The very first poem is a look nature ward – on the tree, titled ‘Rooted Deep in the Soil’.

Rooted deep in the soil
Firm on the ground
I am duty bound to nourish
Hundreds of branches
Thousands of leaves
Birds and bees
I am born to give
Fruits and flowers
Shade and shelter to all
To pay my debt to mother earth
Whose love and care
I have enjoyed since birth.

One very attractive quality in the collection is the brevity of the poems: the best being in just four or six lines.

White flowers bloom
When Night Queen
Takes the day away
Into her bed room. (Night Queen)

When a butterfly gives a kiss
To a blooming red rose
Is it not the same
That happens to me
When you wet lips
Touch my soft cheeks? (A Kiss)

A few lines suffice this poet to put across a nice and new idea:

A little black bird
Flying by my side
Whispers in my ear:
“Come with me
The sky is vast
Open yours wings
Touch the horizon.” (Whisper)

The journey of the paper could be delectable though made of the thing thrown into the dustbin and made into pulp and paper:

Bought by an artist
Brushed with rainbow colours
Framed in gold
Placed in an art gallery
Seen, loved and admired. (Journey)

The poet is fond of the tree. I remember a poet in Telugu, late Ismail, who is fondly called and remembered as ‘chettu kavi’, Poet of the Tree.

When a fairy descends
From the blue sky
The first resting place for her
Is the tall green tree
Sitting on the tree
She locates a school
Looks with curiosity
At the ringing bell
The playground
Full of lovely children
For whom she came
All the way from heaven. (Tree Fairy)

The poet has a strange prayer to the Poetic Muse:

Come as a flash
Any time anywhere
Taking me unaware
Filling up pages in my diary
Putting my signature
And disappear. (Images)

There are some very sensitive and delicate love poems because it is one sensibility, the feeling of sweetness, that has no aging:

The day I met you
Your eyes were shy
Your cheeks were red
You did not speak
Nor could I.
When you allowed
The first touch
With the fragrance of
A hundred flowers
I forgot where
The minutes and hours
Had gone
With love yours for ever. (With Love)

And then, there is very intimate physical sensitivity, not very coy or demure, too:

The clouds on
The eastern horizon
Are a little shy
When they see
Your lips red
Which I did
Just before I came
Out of the bed. (Shy)

There is the Festival of Colours and the festival of love too:

Festival of colours organized by the spring
Birds from nests invited to sing
Season of love, dating and mating
Spring has arrived, no more waiting. (Season of Love)

Lallan Prasad is contemplative and philosophical. He looks at nature, man and things with sensibility, understanding and basic goodness of the heart.

A treasure lies within
We fail to discover
Intoxicated we are
Not only by the wine
But the glasses too
Made by others
When we realize
What others say
And listen to our inner self
We need no more help
To judge ourselves and
Play our destined roles. (Treasure Within)

The awareness and knowledge of the quality and power of time is not always there in every one. Only the wise and imaginative have sagacity like the poet who wrote:

Only time’s march continues
Unabated, nonstop
Washing tears,
Healing the wounds
Regenerating, rebuilding
Lighting the dark streets again
Staging life’s drama
Bringing smiles back from exile. (Time’s March)

A rain drop never
Goes back to the cloud,
A leaf never returns to the branch
Once blown out.
A love lost which breaks hearts
Keeps the two souls apart. (Never to Return)

The contemplative mood of the poet is distinct in some of the poems:

We fail to see Him
In His marvellous creations
In the beauty of nature
His true manifestations
In living beings
With loving relations. (The Green God)

There are poems revealing intense cerebration on Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi. He feels sorry for the way things came to be:

In the present century
With hammers and rods,
The Taliban broke your statue
In broad daylight
With the whole world
Watching the awful sight
But O’ loving God
You are not shaken. (Buddha)

Only the inner voice can help thoughtful man if God gives him the chance:

We know
Trees don’t eat their own fruit
Cows don’t drink their own milk
Let us listen to
Our inner voice
Broaden our choice
Love and be loved
And rejoice. (Inner Voice)

The poet becomes sadder and wiser and explains to us his concept of the waves of time:

Life’s boat sails
On the waves of time
Not always in the
Direction we desire
But be the winds
We can’t control
Lessons learnt are forgotten
Perfection is never reached. (Waves of Time)

Some general remarks are necessary. Proof reading is not everybody’s cup of tea and certainly not of the original writer. The lapse in proof reading does not harm the beauty of the poems. There is no copy-editing at all in the publishing industry in our country. One has to grin and bear the printer’s devils.


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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