Book Reviews

Songs of a Solitary Tree

Arun M Sivakrishna, a management professional is a poet by passion. He is living in Mangalore and has varied interests other than poetry such as photography, travel, sports and the like. His maiden collection of poems ‘Songs of a Solitary Tree ‘ - Graphical Verses of Sublime Snippets published by Patridge Publishing Company which has sixty poems, mostly short poems, themed around realities of life are assertive, sensitive and evocative. On an entourage through the collections of poems in this book, one can feel the maturity of a seasoned poet in presentation of ideas with good command over the language and writing skills.

Poetry is a world of real and unreal, words used conveying more than their collective meaning and also different meanings or interpretations to each, even different meanings on subsequent readings to the same readers. He/She is the one fascinated by nature, thrilled by romance, anguished by social injustice , haunted by memories and much more. Memories are the intangible assets of a poet. There is hardly any poet who has not expressed their childhood memories. Here is a poet who has presented poems on varied aspects with hard-hitting facts. Like the title of this book, titles of poems in this collection catch ones attention like ‘It Happens Just Like That’, ‘Birds With Clipped Wings’, ‘ Post Card From a Home Far Away’, ‘Searing Solitude’, to quote a few.

Poem ‘Island, Seeker and Solace’ remarkably resonates with the title of the book and one can see the depth of the poem in these lines:

For a wood in a long flight
A tree too longs for such a pleasant
Breach in its solitary penance
It is a seeker as well as a solace
Just as everyone
Is an island
In their own right. (p.13)

In the poem ‘Lonely Reed Swaying’, the loneliness, the struggles and strife of life are painfully depicted with the metaphor of a swaying reed:

Deep inside, it would be a
Raging struggle, of
Rights and wrongs
For or against.

At the end of all such
Struggles and hard fought strife
If you still find yourself lonely
Like a thin reed swaying about,
Would you still hope for
Someone to lift you up. (p.16)

The elation in love is subtly brought out in poem ‘Yep, They Are In Love’, taking the readers to a vista of joy:

Without the baggage of inhibitions
They set themselves free like
Birds in the sky chasing
Each other in a merry dogfight.

Like those swell of waves seeking
Shore again and again
They keep coming back to
Each other in unbridled joy. (p.17)

The poet seems to be fascinated by the splendour of rains. Many of the poems have metaphors of rain, somewhere in a euphoric mood, depressed elsewhere. In poem ‘Where Were You’, the intense pain of a lover is most sensitively portrayed:

Eyes once sparkles at seeing me was
As dead as that of a cod fish…..
“Where were you,
When I weathered all these
Rains alone?!”

‘What She must have kept in Those Eyes of Hers?’ is a poem with intense pain. It starts with the following lines,

Difficult it was
To look into her eyes
Without getting mine moist

And then goes on reflecting the inner turmoil of the speaker of the poem leaving the readers to experience the pain of the protagonist.

Eyes they conceal an ocean
Yet, just won’t stay quiet when we badly want them
It will give us up
Like a jealous acquaintance.
Now, after all these years
Badly wanted to know
What she must have kept in those eyes of hers? (p.20)

Poem ‘Oh Those Sweet Little Monsters’ is refreshingly sweet, seeing the tiny tots at the beach and to have listened to their ballads.

It seems the poet is drawn towards the nuances of music, like that of Vishal Dadlani, as is revealed in poem ‘An Eventful Day, Sometime Back’. As the speaker of the poem is back home from a hectic days work and listens to his power-packed rendition on TV , it drives home a realization:

We are puppets in HIS hands and
Being happy with the way
He wants us to be.
Instead of seeking him at places of worships
Have it in heart, that HE can seek us wherever we may be. (p.26)

A matured and wise spiritual revelation is effortlessly and effectively displayed by the poet in the above lines. With memories gathering like ‘insects On the Windscreen’ the poem titled such is nostalgic and beautiful. The poet looks back and feels sad for unrequited love of a mother and her heart-aches in the poem ‘Ah, It Is a Mom’s Way’.

Being the best friend she was and
Always been, clasped him in a
Tight embrace, ruffled his hair and
Gave a sweet peck on his cheek. (p.34)

‘How it reminds you of’, a poem on rains analyzes according to the varied forces of rain as a baby’ s sprinkle, a daughter dancing around, a son’s day out, taking parental proportions or even that of spouse when it swells up and pours all over, and the poet seems to enjoy the rain in whatever form and force it comes.

Similarly in ‘Summer rain of a Dad’, love for Dad is most subtly articulated with a sense of guilt having had the veil of a misunderstanding of hate, like unpredictable summer rains, lifted. Here also the poet uses rains to explain the mental state of the ailing father.

In an embrace
We became one
Yet, again.
Raining inside

In ‘Ah, Mumbai, I’m All Ears’ the hectic pace of life in Mumbai with its ‘electric sense of sounds’ is nostalgically depicted:

Every time, I hear these strains,
The Sufi wails, when the church bells toll
When chants of Aum reverberates around
Its again a voyage to those lovely lanes
I left sometime back and
Now have an yearning to go back to.(p42)

The poet is sensitive against killing of girl child and raises his voice against it in no uncertain words in the short poem ‘War Against Killing the girl child.’

A bud nipped..
Waiting prayers
And flailing limbs..
Trailing Beats of
A Sailing Child… (p.48)

Love for music of the poet is ambly depicted in this collection of poems. Here is a poem ‘A layman listening to Shafqat Amanat Ali’ and also in the poem ‘A prayer to me is’:

When Shafqat sings, time moves in slow motion
We live through each strain,
Each angst filled notes in its pensive best
It’s like a dip in the cold water when the
Bone breaking chill runs from toe to the pate. (p.58)

Work-life balance is very important for one to be happy and successful in life and this poem ‘ Mea Culpa’ is a warning to workaholics:

Successful career doesn’t make anything
Great if you miss the rest and
I am in no position to maintain a
Healthy balance too.
So hard to see grace slowly elude them and
Erosion of a different kind setting in,
Price we pay for being successful. (p.67)

The poet is good at satire too as is evident in the poem ‘Blue Linen Shirt’, which is enjoyable.

Without that blue piece of fitting linen
To make me a dutiful hubby
How can I buy a diamond for my wife and
Make her forget where I was
On the day she had her birthday? (p.88)

Songs of a Solitary Tree is a compelling read and the cost paid on this book will not be a futile spending for poetry lovers. I believe the poet is sure to establish his own niche in the field of poetry.


More by :  Pankajam K

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Views: 3411      Comments: 1

Comment very good assessment
grammar and spelling mistakes irritate careful readers
still, all of us go on with great speed
I am not an exception
our grammar teachers bless us

dr v v b rama rao
24-Apr-2016 21:26 PM

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