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Sizzling and Seething
|by Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.|
Prem P C K.,Of This Age and Obscurity and Other Poems, Gnosis, Authors Press Global Network, Delhi, 2011, Paper Back pages 106, Price Rs. 125/-
PCK Prem needs no fresh introduction for he has carved a niche for himself long ago in the Parthenon of Indian English Literature as a poet, fiction writer and a literary critic of eminence. This book is remarkably powerful for the poet depicts modernization as mere ‘syphillization’ bludgeoning values hoary and ancient. Our modern culture is broken into smithereens what with the flooding of money and the supremacy of men like Monto, Prem had already presented. There is no straight forward thinking in the powers vested with the murkiest of black money and moral turpitude. No wonder a morality sensitive intellectual is bothered by the fumes of cerebration. The agony of the right-minded was found in the vyakulata of Sage Vedavyasa who wrote the eighteen puranas. In the last century the long poem, Wasteland showed us degradation and degeneration powerfully.
Flirt, frigid, uncertain are key words applicable almost everywhere in the milieu becoming desperately the same everywhere. Efforts at peace making are always half-hearted and feckless. Solution arrived at are concocted for a brief living.
A breach is the ultimate, generally the same always.
‘Culture’ is poem of three parts. Men are lonely and each wants to peel off the armour of the other. Here is a stiff necked and straight backed conglomeration of people.
Rock and pillar edicts of long forgotten eras had something to talk about men and matters and things done or undone. They are best forgotten for they may hurt modernity. The poet talks of man who keeps off, wants to be a spectator or a compere with no great responsibility. The poet tries to comfort man from within. ‘As I Fly’speaks of knowledge and not of wisdom even indirectly.
The poet thinks of the wisest of the wise and ancient works: Krishna, Hanuman, Aranyakas and Samhitas. Things fall apart and the centre cannot hold, a poet said earlier and in ‘An Option’ says this our poet Prem:
The poet is worried that the man half dead is breathing hard. He observes in with his mind’s eye that those who died yesterday are living today, if only to be quoted or masqueraded as. This is dangerous, not merely frightful, for the souls seeking good bodies could not be born again.
‘Prayers’ is about futility:
Man made rules (remember Eliot and Hollow Men) are considered splendid governance. They may not be wise, humane, or even good. Things are broken, shattered into smithereens or splinters. Efforts are on or beginning are promised and forecast.
Existence and even actual daily life becomes a riddle. The state of mind of the protagonist, the poet’s mind is seething and sizzling with cerebration.
‘Birth Unknown’ goes back to
The third part ‘Of This Time’ is about human relationships (not merely man and woman) where there is no permanence or guarantee of things past.
This crisis is the consequence of cultural degeneration and fast regression.
The most serious and so painful damage is that tradition is butchered in neo-pseudo modernity.
And then there is the poem ‘Of This Time’ which perhaps is ‘This Age’ of the title. In It is in ten parts about this time, this moment, this obscurity, this prayer, this priest, this secret, this pillar, this vision, this feeling and this stage. Briefly stated this time is a non existing wedge between cultures with prayers and a wish which only thinks of statues of crowded crossings, this moment is a patchwork of prayers and grimaces and an attempt to enact a historic scene in a theatre of absurd gaieties. This obscurity is in many vermillion painted stony figures with grisly rainbows and multi-layered torsos spitting fire. This prayer is aromatic, tingling bells driving a silly pack to a smoggy coma. This priest is the Pandit that nurses many love scenes. He looks at the huge statue of god, sighs and groans yet singing the rhymes of glory. All this is loudmouthed, much repeated and supposedly sacrosanct humbug. The secret is that the wily priest with dozens of religious sermons showers soft touches on fair ladies with detached looks at others. This pillar is about Dhritarashtra crushing the iron sculpture of Bheema. This vision is one of a cauldron about the energies of the stirring of gods as the body refuses where tragedy occurs. This feeling is one of a man confused, angry and thirsty. The stage is that of Mahabharata revisited. Bheeshma reveals that sin is not new and penance is primeval. And here is the end piece.
In ‘Intensity’ we are told again of this time.
‘Great Servants’ is about the lip worship for the great men:
The fourth and the last part is ‘True Memoirs’. It describes experiences and events of the past, things seen, felt and suffered. ‘Spectre’ has six scenes each absurd, ludicrous or absurd but all are haunting. The poet’s imagination in ‘A Monster’ is also harrowing. Here is an example:
‘Feral Truths’ as stated in the title is wild and brutal.
The poet is honest, truthful and fearless, and, at times, very near to tears:
The last poem ‘A Salute’ is an expression of leave taking. The poet is honest, matter of fact, calling a spade a spade. For that reason he lingers long in the reader’s memory.
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