Book Reviews

Rising Above Spatial and Temporal Tides

Tidal Interludes (Poetry) , Poet : Gopal Lahiri
Pages: 70 pages Publisher: Shambhabi - The Third Eye Imprint
Year : 2015 , ISBN-10: 8193166671

ISBN-13: 978-8193166673

Poetry is a matter of heart. Poetry means flow of emotions, of thoughts, a vision. It is seeing in nothingness and bringing out everything best, the sublime but when a man of science treads the trajectory of silence musing on various aspects of life, subtly or concretely ; it results into poetry of great excellence and brilliance. This is so with Tidal Interludes, an effervescent poetry collection by Gopal Lahiri , an eminent Scientist-poet who has presented an illustrating integration of dual aspect of being- the inner and outer, objective and subjective, individual and society affected by the ups and downs of life and time. His poems are ‘all about/ tears of despair in eyes/and erosion of values’, and also ‘meandering thoughts’ on realising the eternal quest. He weaves a fantastic "Surreal Canvass", 'with wary eyes and hunched shoulders', 'in search of a sweet home', where life is lived better with warmth of embrace. He suggests-

let us walk on the garden path
gradually detach from the surroundings,
the empty moments
go, from one world to another,
and if not, I guess, still be with you.

In the very beginning of the book, Usha Kishore, an eminent poet, has written that Tidal Interludes is “a journey into solitude; into the poet’s mindcape, profound, philosophic, yet not totally unrealistic”. Needless to say Golal Lahiri’s poetry is resonant with both musical and magical quality that touches the right chord and tenderly stimulates mind of the readers who are at liberty to grasp the vast immensity of space while reading between the lines. His presentation is so delicate and precise. He gives some hints and leaves everything to the readers to grasp the rich and subtle meanings of her poems. All the poems of this collection are highly revealing, riveting, imagistic and stimulating and require sharpened and refined cerebral capacity to get at the bottom.

Since the creation of the world, joy, happiness and peace have been perennial quest of mankind. Art and science, poetics and aesthetics etc , evolved for the purpose, enable the people to attain this state of ecstasy and bliss. The poet has also an unending quest for joy. He makes introspective probing into the realm of abstract thoughts and comes to realize that secret code of happiness and joy lies in its demystification. The very first poem “Secret Code” is a sort of imagistic beauty. Vivid imagery lends beautiful dimension to the poetic thought and its creative expression. In it, he describes the secret code of happiness that needs deep probing into the inner world to unlock the hidden code of life

stepping inside
falling in the dark whirl,

the secret code that reopens
the wooden door to freedom,
for now the earth is at peace.

With Secret code of life decoded, his exultation is best expressed ' in the times of deepest peace'/ that ends with 'calmness and tears of joy'.

His poems are songs of solitude that comfort heart and mind. Solitude for the poet is the moment of creativity. Imagination in solitude can create something profound in his mindscape. He lights the lamp of hope in the darkness of despair and disappointment with his thoughts, that floats in his poem “Water”-

An earthen lamp floats on the serene meandering river
Flickering of light raises hope, emits trust, and spells truth.

The poet, with the oil of his high spirit, keeps the lamp burning despite the tempest of temporal realities of the world ‘turning darkness into light, light into haze’. As he is in search of something sublime, he holds his heart and patiently waits for the time when his path will be flooded with lights of tranquillity. With the higher level of soul consciousnesses, man in the perfect tune with nature has the ecstatic feeling that can minimise or heal the intensity of pain and sufferings of life-

our stars are so strong, each time,
night unfolds the puffy cheeks,
the connection in soul level,
hides the wound and suffering,
supporting this lighter life in ecstasy. (Ecstasy)

Silence speaks volume of the poetic agility and acumen of Gopal Lahiri in his poetry. His treatment of silence is quite appreciable. With subtlety of expression he divulges myriads of things with multi-layers of meanings. Creating dream-like-fantasy, he takes his readers to a different realm and shows them the door of visual vista of consciousness. Let’s see the analogy he presents in the poem “Dream” –

a house is full of shadows, crawling,
silence is an old wound that
will open the wooden door

He further reminds us of the unscripted moments of life for which we have to be all prepared to face them-

you are only the silent witness recoiling the unscripted moments,
drop poison in the folded hands. (Unscripted Moments)

As a poet of love and beauty, he takes extra pleasure in depicting a fantastic picture of nature and also soothes and stimulates the aesthetic sense of the people who enjoy his poetry. The journey of his profound thoughts, from the earth to the sky, creates deep longing for relishing the ravishing beauty of nature which, in turn, charges the viewers (readers) with exceeding vim and vigour. “Breaking Wall” is a testimonial justification of this idea-

you love to stand above in the plateau of flowers
try to reach the razing sun and burn in flames,
be there so long to fill
the earth with raining ashes .

He expresses his deep concern over the rampant process of deforestation. He is anxious about man-made pollutions resulted from urbanization process. He satirises the ‘wise men’ with soaring greed for defiling the beauty of nature. “Kernels” is one such a serious poem that contains his ecological concerns-

the forest have shrunk
the wise men once played a vital role but
they are less human now.

In the praise of healing power of nature and its protection his poem “Endless Whispers” is quite noteworthy. It is well suffused with universal message. His fascination with nature and his ecological awareness find wonderful mention. He proclaims-

for washing away
the deeply wound
igniting the silent moment,
in the rubble of life
of long prayers.

reach out to trees
the wind of the cold heights
destroys the cages,
connecting the light and shade
under open skies.

Afforestation is a beautiful ornament that the earth wears to beautify our life, both emotionally and psychologically. Assaults on the breast of the earth whom we call ‘mother’ out of our love agonise the poet to a considerable extent. Her sprawling green beauty is not meant to be discoloured at any cost. Let’s see what he has to say-

we cannot explain
the hidden lines. No space now to hold your wrinkled,
my mother earth. ( Muted Color)

The poet’s concern is also palpable in his poem ‘Battle” which presents a very deplorable description of the deteriorating condition of the natural defilement by our modernistic way of life that is increasing the intake of carbon monoxide , a real threat to human existence-

The bunch of green leaves, Mobil oil,
Dirt and plastics
Of whites roses and ribbons,
Stepping down from the soaring cliffs,
The life that steals oxygen.

Modern world is a kind of waste land fertile with frustrations and disappointments. Some of his poems are suffused with realistic approach to life. He doesn’t want the people to be deterred by the existential pheromones of human predicament. In “My Space”, he gets realistic and deterministic to cope with soaring tides of troubles in life.

Stay behind on the earthy wasteland,
You mean to live life harder, and yet,
In order to escape the despair and grief,
Shade them with your softest palm.

He doesn’t second any escapist view point. The world affairs, even if they bother, have something in store for the dwellers- the landscape of natural beauty that inspires us to life in constant communion with our surroundings. His “Endless Whispers” gets heard here-

Somewhere in the earth
the evening breeze
with tuft of feathers,
with birdsong
mention you.

“Glass Door” is a highly symbolical poem presenting a verbal landscape of thoughts and a vision. The poet’s craftsmanship in creating mental pictures is praiseworthy. He reveals-

The glass door separates us- the cycle bells,
Memories of the thumbnail reflections,
Faintly remind the tender touches
For washing away the tears, the watery check.

In the same poem he expresses the gross realisation of subtle connectivity with the cord of eternity of motherhood- feminine power. With connotation of maternal ordeal and pathos his denotation to the transition from mother’s womb to the material lap of the world then to the journey from the mundane to the sublime after ‘breaking the wall/inside’ he remarks-

Rummaging through the torn papers,
Trashing stories that do not wear out,
I can glimpse your fingers each out
And cut the knots of the umbilical chord.

Search for the absolute reality as well as his ethereal aspiration to know the unknown is an important aspect of his poetic writings. While enjoying the beauty of the world with multifarious opulence of nature, he tends to probe into the mysteries of life. For the sake of the heavenly things of life, he doesn’t sacrifice the momentous moments of life at present. He believes that ‘it’s only a slip, not fall, in search of hidden pole’. That’s why he suggests in his meaningful poem “That is Unknown”-

Let go the past and move on. The wall clock reminds…
Entice the sky to come down to this beautiful earth.

In the same vein of spiritual quest for soulful essence, the poet explores the ways to realise it. It is a hard reality that people are today ‘numbed, scraped, wounded inside’. They frustrated and disillusioned .However, they have to filter the hard times they are faced with. The poet is of contemplative turn of mind. He recalls eternal words of the seer and proclaims-

Hidden in you, a kernel, a spark, so unique,
Guru says, the secret of the seed- it’s about
Learning to trust your strength
Wrapped in everyday chaos and cauldron. (Exit Route)

In another soul-stirring poem “Surreal Canvass”, he reiterates the same thing in other way round. With the verve and valour of his precise words, he does lay emphasis on treading the path of introspection for realising the sole intent of human life-

everything behind those wooden doors
is true, full and meaningful,
a short stroll away.

Once the hurdles crossed, ‘search of a sweet home’ is fulfilled and ‘life is better here; say hello and embrace’. Hence, he suggests to ‘surrender to the tides/till the river collapses’ and ‘suffer and remain opaque/till the moon disappears’ with a hint at the rise of new dawn. Getting back to the source-heavenly home-‘past and present exist all at once/turning layers of the time plane/occur in unison’. In life, both gross and subtle, patience and perseverance, memories and silence, all are very important. The poet makes us realise-

...waiting for the steely resolve
torching the dark cells,
filled with the song-
calling all crowd pullers,
and light up the steps to the Heaven. (Walking On Alphabets)

Acting upon the conspicuous ways of realisation , as suggested by the poet, the eternal longing for salvation is bound to be realised at long last. This great and sublime lesson of his poetry on life and redemption is imbued with universal truth. His poetic words mirror this big reality-

Sometimes words are secret seeds
They bring new metaphors for life.
They do this day in and day out. (Kernels)

Human life has to undergo series of trails and tribulations. The setbacks on the way make us tough enough to carry on the journey despite all odds. They teach us ‘the art of survival/on uneven paths and graft’. The process of struggling, against external forces or internal conflicts, results into our insightfulness. Turning inward leads from the gall of despair to the height of blithe realm. “Uneven Path” is a testimony to this awareness of his. Employing various shapes and sizes to measure the journey on the zigzag path of life the poet uses appealing and stirring metaphors-

life to be in a half or full circle
world in a microcosm,
seal the glorious moments
painfully evoke sensation.
x x x x x x
When our heart beats,
There will be silence,
Walking on the diagonals,
The hanging question,
Closes in opposites.

In most of his poems, the poet explores the physical and metaphorical juxtaposition of light and darkness, fire and water, the sky and the earth, the night and the day, the truth and lies, and of course inner and outer circles of life. The contrastive description of thoughts and ideas intensifies poetic effect and the reader has sudden surge of yearning to make introspection to recognise the true actualities to ‘escape from the long suffering’. Introspection makes us search for the meaning, for regaining ‘consciousnesses. He unearths ‘truth could always be/peeled into the petals of lies’(First Time). Inner space has to be created to seek shelter from human predicament which inevitable on the way –

a narrow territory between love and light,
the anguished mind always drives into tears. (Inner Circle)

However, togetherness in love illumines the dark path with optimistic lamp to see the light of delight and eternal dreams are translated into eternal reality-

becomes visible in inner circle, behind eyes.
For when all is said, the question of the
existence of you and me in this vast universe,
a force infusing, the flow moves in torrents.
x x x x x x
dreams and meaning of the balanced life,
flicker through, survives and thrives here.
in a way to accept the celebrations of dawn,
the music of the universe rings in delight. (Inner Circle)

Some of his poems present the spectrum of love and intimacy. It is under the poetic spell that he sometimes gets personal while describing the impersonal things. His “Mother and daughter share the secrets now/ Of life and beyond” has “two layers of meaning” reflecting both subjective and objective observation of life and beyond. In his poetic flow of ink ‘outside world turns real‘, and objective, and vice versa. With touch of sensuousness, he depicts a very wonderful picture of love in his poem “Eternal Love”-

I press my forehead,
with your delicate fingers
it’s soft, intimate,
close my eyes, smell the fragrance,
tracing the curve, of your full lips.

He further makes us realise the eternity of pure love in the same poem-

Words will now melt bit by bit,
through the spreading light, in our open palms,
not to forget our dreams,
of the unending, eternal love. (Eternal Love)

Intimacy is an important ingredient of love. It strengthens the bond between two hearts. Its significance can be felt at every step of life. Hiding the wound and suffering, intimacy goes a long a way in ‘supporting this lighter life in ecstasy. It does wonders. The poet accepts-

In the cocoon of intimacy
you may weave the same magic, raise the spirits,
in a suave chemistry,
I dream about it in every breath I take,
when I go to sleep. (Ecstasy)

As a poet of social realism, he also realistically describes the plight of the poor people with ‘scarred faces.. empty eyes’ ‘walking on the tightropes’. They have to do something for their survival with happiness. He gives a very poignant and heart-wrenching account of poverty in the poem “Draw Lines”-

Evening sun probes their mind,
Wound, pain, agony roll into dry tears,
A crushing blow; the struggle continues.

The poet underlines their zeal of living the zest for life in spite of their economic misery and helplessness-

We draw a line of hunger, we dictate, we conclude,
They want to live, they want to buy freedom,
It’s their only way of living life. (Draw Lines)

To sum up, Gopal Lahiri , in his “Tidal Interludes”, has made painstaking poetic endeavours to decode the 'Secret Code' of 'the heightened consciousness' of existential experience of self , soul and their harmonization resulting into a 'supervision', through the 'Window' of life gliding through elemental trajectories against ' Time warp', with 'Prayer;', 'Dreams',' Breaking Wall', 'Glass Door' for ' Admission' in "my Space", inner world of his psyche, the realm "That is Unknown', "Undone", like an "Uneven Path", with his poetic experiential 'Diary" of "Unscripted Moments" captured within " The Wall of Silence" facilitated with 'Little Light, "Down Under",” Flame Tree” along the “Exit Route,”. With his “Solitary Confinement’ in “Inner Circle”, he has “Inklings” of his soul’s “Endless Whispers” for “Eternal Love”, “Ecstasy” and “Salvation”, “In the Light of Truth”. Later, he “Draw Lines”, with “Muted Color” and “ Ink And Paper”, between his “Battle” and “Emission” of his mundane miseries on the “Surreal Canvass” and “ Walking on Alphabets” of metaphysical musings echoing “Unhurried Music” casting on him “Magic Spell” he finds the ultimate way to “Holy City” after hovering like a ,” Spiral Leaf,” carrying “ Tiny Raindrops” of ambrosia, and feels his “Home Coming” and his “Tidal Interludes” at “Sundeck” is the spiritual odyssey of inner transformation.

In this way, Gopal Lahiri’s "Tidal Interludes" creates a lamp post in the ocean of life with opportune succour provided to Soul to beat down temporal and spatial tides during the voyage. The book is highly recommended for the readers who want to enjoy the beauty of life, nature and soul and undertake the inner voyage to connect themselves with universal consciousness of the divine entity.

Happy reading!


More by :  Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar

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Views: 3432      Comments: 1

Comment Nice review.Congratulations!

Chandra Shekhar Dubey
25-Jul-2016 02:01 AM

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