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Madhumita Ghosh: My Poetry My Voice
|by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar|
My Poetry My Voice (Collection of Poems), Pages: 120
My Poetry My Voice is the fourth poetry book of Madhumita Ghosh whose other three poetry books are “For All You Lovely People”, “Pebbles on the Shore” and “Flowing with the River" and “William Blake: A Prophet for Mankind” being a critical book on the British poet. Consisting of thirteen sections in perfect consonance with variegated moods of the poet, the anthology under review mirrors her love, joy and pleasure of being in love,pangs of separation, fond memories, deep despair, intense nostalgia, loneliness, dejection and despondency, immense loss, agonising assault of times with gloomy set-up. She has tried to portray her intense feelings, emotions and experiences on the major canvass of life and the beautiful world acting as a source of inspiration for her. She mentions in her preface that ‘Nature inspires me with all its beauteous forms and features. Man’s thoughtless mutilation of the beautiful world saddens me. I rejoice or weep within and write'. All the poems are in romantic vein, later poems being of philosophical strands. She gives a detailed account of her comprehensive perspective on multi-dimensional love and life, romanticism and mysticism, and existential predicament of woman in the world with a feminine point of view. Her insights into the vagaries of love and life are quite remarkable and inspire the readers to delve into the realm and even transcend beyond.
The Song of Silence is another poem dealing with the stark realism of city life. She enjoys silence to let her heart and soul speak out through poetry. The poet is nostalgic about her times spent therein. Her reflective strain can also be felt here. Brooding over the past fetches her some sort of joy and peace in her thirsty present. Ensnared by sweet memories, she remarks-
The poet seems to be very fond of music and songs and she correlates them with the beats, cadence and rhythm of her heart and together they create sweet symphony of thoughts on love, life and the world. Her existential concern is pervaded with a sense of helplessness. At the present stage of life, she is assertive and tries to come to terms with the stern realities of life and accepts her lot without any grudges and grumbles. She is in a who-cares-mood and parries away the pensive thoughts scaring her from afar. Nevertheless, she expresses her apprehensions-
“Junes to a December: An Autobiography” is a realistic documentation of the poet’s experience of life in its totality. She has enjoyed the variegated aspects of her life, feeling love, joy and undergoing traumas and anguishes. However, she is aware of the final destination of life. She takes recourse in profound philosophy and echoes the eternal refrain-
In the first half of life she was enjoying the pattering of rains, feeling embraced with her love, relishing the sap of youth. However, she is sad at heart at the irreparable loss of the cozy moments. In the later part of life, she is all alone with nobody to talk to. She is wet with melancholic tears falling from her heart. She cries out her loneliness-
Past assumes immense significance for the poet as she believes in the constructive power of the past times that shape the times to come and the times one lives with. Her temporal conception is philosophically amazing and logically justifiable. She is the view that past is what we are made of, and present is what we are. She rightly says-
For Indian women, husband is everything, sort of God. Personal loss of her partner creates a void of loneliness and dejection and she very touchingly describes her own sad plight-
The melancholic strain or vein also run through the following lines from the poem ‘memories’-“The darkness I shall keep/ and just one little star/ in a teardrop/ on my ring finger”.
She is hopeless and hapless and loitering in adverse circumstances. However, she is desperately ‘gasping for a silk thread of hope’, ‘a glimmering hope flickers’. She expresses her antagonized grudges against her life partner who left her in lurch, with her children in her aging times-“Didn’t he think of his loved ones?/Didn’t he ever dream of an old age?/And children of his own? “ (River and the Man)
Other poems of the section are The River , River and the Man , At the Seashore at Night , A Vision at the Seaside , At the Seaside , Mourning the Waves , Dirge of the Lands , Never again to the Sea that deal with varied manifestations of nature reflecting the poet’s vivid and varied moods and responses thereto.
“Rain: A Drama in Five Acts” and ‘Unwelcome Rain” also deserve our attention here.
Philosophy of life with intricate mysticism also gets reflected in her poetry. When sadness exceeds its limit, the mind of the poet starts roaming about, sometimes over the hills, the sea etc. She tries to explore the way to purge herself off all the mundane dirges of despair. And the inner journey as such soothes her, wiping of the tears of heart. The vision of the unseen is like a beacon that leads her to the enlightened world of joy and happiness, peace and comforts. She vividly divulges-
She further remarks-
Yet another section Seasons in the Sun (seventeen Poems) highlights the growth of love in beautiful surroundings of the seasons through the poems under this section. Seasons find a very special, symbolic mention in her poetry. The names of seasons employed in the collection function as a metaphor to state different states of her mind, with varied thoughts with mélange of feelings and emotions. Seasons are also used to represent stages of human life. She waits for the rains to cool down the heated crust of the earth, so to the muffed heart of hers. She also gets nostalgic feelings and remembers her summer holiday spent in the village. Depicting a very realistic picture of a summer holiday, she presents the’ tranquil world’ as it is, far from the city life, with all its picturesque ‘a beauty long passed by’-
Amidst passing of the seasons she is in search of her love, to feel her warmth in Winter, her soothing, heaving bosom in Summer but she finds nothing as such as she only traverses the and undertakes the lonely journey of life along the memories that have still got stuck to her feminine consciousness that gives birth to Spring thoughts like ‘cuckoos calls’. Winter is ‘ the time of harvest;/plentifulness celebrated/ in feast and fun/ hearts warm, embracing one another with love.’, Autumn is’ mist’, ‘mellow fruitfulness’, ‘blue sky’,’ a month of festivities/ a month of joy’. Summer is ‘time for joy / smelling the heady musk rose’, a holiday for ‘Warmth and love’. Keen attachment with the seasons have memories associated with . She has longing for soaring high with joy, ‘fly to the sun/span and scan the sky/looking for you’. She expresses her desire to celebrate her womanhood-
In between duality of times, of season lies the hope, joy, and warmth with full of optimism as ‘hope flitters about on dappled wings’.
Her candid confession is very unique of a woman who declares that she is a chaste woman as she loves two at a time with full loyalty. She points out-“I remember him/who never was mine/yet was mine alone/The man of my past dreams/remains with my present;/for me alone.” (The Chaste Unchaste Woman)
With all the romantic dreams realized, she still yearns for the eternal companionship with her lover. Now that she has surrendered herself to the love, she wants to go beyond with the eternity of love she harbors in her tender heart. She makes urges-
It is a point to be noted that she is fond of not only physical intimacy but also the soulful ecstasy. However, she doesn’t attach that much importance to the physical aspect of love. Her perception of love is very unique. Let’s observe her elemental lines that reveal spiritual aspect of love also
With a confessional mode in the fashion of Kamala Das, the poetess also gives up the conventional inhibitions characteristics of woman and dares to speak up her mind, unlocking her heart–
The past love still haunts her in her present, even in the presence of her present love with her loneliness. She is very honest and candid in true expression of her feeling of love. She confesses with great aplomb-
Love’s a Lonely Song (ten poems) contains the poems of love dedicated to her muse. These poems show different forms of love- from physical aspect to the sublime. They bring to us both the pangs of separation and the blissful moments spent with the love. She sometimes tells the tales of past love, and sometimes laments over the loss of love. She again revisits the haunting garden of love carved on time and sips the sap from the memories singing songs of love. Fed up, she also asks Cupid not to strike her poor self with the passionate arrow. She feels proximity with her lover though staying away. Romantic imagination is at its best in the poems under this section. She says-
Treatment of nature to heighten the intensity of love is enchanting, these lines being the exemplary illustrations-The moon came tonight/dressed in all her finery/the bridesmaid stars carrying her train trailing/across the sky/when the nastiest fog came rushing/to blind all/and the bride in the sky wore black. (A Silly Wise Love Poem)
Woman (ten poems), the women-centric section, contains some brilliantly remarkable poems suffused with feminine sensibilities. She draws out attention towards some of her woman-specific poems. Poems such as She ,Woman , Femme Fatale, Desire Woman , Mermaid Maiden ,You Stranger Woman, Barbecued , The Witch , Padmini Woman , I am She reflect her feministic concerns, serious issues of woman and attempt to explore the feministic consciousness behind the layers of multi-faceted personality of a woman. She defines various roles of woman that she plays in our life. “With sighs and tears/And the most winning smile”, she is a figure, not only adored, adorned but also worshipped like a deity. She is a creative force behind every creation, and hence assumes a place of paramount significance. She opines-
Positive aspect apart, she also brings out the negative trait of woman as a ‘witch’, ‘appetizing female flesh’, ‘full of venom in her false heart’, ‘a Medusa with serpents in her hair’ , a ‘Padmini Woman’ with immense ‘Love raging within’ that burns man’s passions and purges him off all the dirges, soothing his soul in her arms. Not only this, she also bemoans her sad plight in today’s male-dominated society. She is saddened to see that woman is treated as ‘the daily meal/a hurried breakfast’, ‘weaker yet stronger’ with stupendous power in her bower that man often fails to fathom and measure. She desires-
Here, There and Everywhere (eleven poems) contains some poems composed at different places. They are At the Fortress , At the Crossroads , The Actor , Theatre , The Dance of the Masks , A Night: There and Here , Fireflies , Running a Race , Looking for Oasis , An Evening at the Village , Street Theatre. Time spares none. All, be it man or things, small or big, have to face assaults of time. Helplessness before time is apparent in her poetry. She depicts a deplorable image of ‘a throne’ as a metaphor to reveal this temporal reality in these lines-
Her poetry is pregnant with philosophy of life that makes us aware of the ultimate end of life. Like Shakespeare, she also compares man with an actor and underlines the hard reality when she refers to an actor’s vanishing from this stage of life- he went away to where life beckoned/for him to play another familiar role.” (The Actor)She further brings her point that –‘It is the truth that lives there/ onstage, illumined by arc lights/or groping in the dark’(Theatre) and when don’t realize this fact it means we have not played our role in our real life and failed to understand the hidden meaning of these philosophical lines. She further expresses herself on the deplorable condition of the people in the world through her own portrayal-
She is afraid of her life that sometimes crushes ‘love and hope’. The duality of life is reflected philosophically in her poem “A Night: There and Here” which is a juxtaposition between joy at one time and sorrow at another and in between lingers our life. Being alive to this fact of life, she is looking for an ‘oasis’ for ‘cool of mind’ and love at heart rather than running after momentary ‘fame and name’. Her keen observation of human life has been beautifully described through the appropriate use of a metaphor ‘street’. She says-
Poems showcased under Celebrations and Paeans (five poems) are suffused with various festivities of life and paeans that have found wonderful expressions in her poetry. Love and romance, sorrow and joy, hope and despair apart, she has also well delineated festivities of life to beat the monotony. As a matter of fact, celebrations provide a break from the stereotyped life styles. Contemporary world is burning in the fire of violence, atrocities, corruptions etc. national and international warring forces are at loggerheads. Through her poetry she wishes to establish and restore peace, brotherhood and harmony. With this global symphony she prays ‘with folded hands for a miracle-a miracle is the need of the hour/Today/May an eternal child be born/a savior/of souls putrefied/in Mathura/or Bethlehem’ (Janmashtami-the Birth of Lord Krishna). In her “Durga Puja” she is paying obeisance to the Mother who ‘kills the demon-asura, Myopic asuras in us’. Glorifying woman she says that ‘divine Mother and earthly wives’ are ‘alike
My Wishes My Voice, (forty two poems) is the last section of the anthology. It sums up her wishes, desires, longings, longings, dreams, hopes, comforts, grievances, and aspirations in the poems contained in this section. Woman’s heart is a secret chamber of her deepest feelings and intense emotions. The poetess probes into her female psyche and explores different ways and modes of expression for voicing them out. Though she wants to soar in the sky of love, of freedom, yet the social chains of the times always clip her wings resulting into her inability and helplessness. She wishes- ‘I’d be a cloud in the sky/sailing towards the sun/looking down on earth/ seeing myself poring over/a much yellowed book (In the Sky, among the Clouds). In the poem “Yearning” she makes a plea to
The above lies have Shelleyan touch and reveal her agonizing pain of the world where woman is subjected to cruel treatment. To evade the pains of the present she wishes to fly away in the distant land of futurity in search of joy and comfort. The followings lines are reflective of her escapist view point only for unfolding the realm of better tomorrow-
Nevertheless, she recalls the memories of the past. Her nostalgic feeling gets reflected with candid assertion when she expresses-
Ignition of love even in the old age adds another interesting dimension to the total comprehensibility of this liquid and deep feeling that’s has been irrigating the creative process of human life. Even an old love carefully wrapped in fond memories can be a source of joyous feeling. The poetess exudes the aroma of love-
Loving memories fascinate her and reactivate and intensify her search for the love. The nostalgic feeling is at its best her-
In her poetry, the poetess has also reflected certain aging issues. “The morose mirror reflects a sad old woman “(A Face in the Mirror). She unwraps the aging warp:
While probing deep into various aspects of love, she gets philosophical and reflective in her poetry. Thoughts of love lead her to the realm beyond and thus she turns inward to be alive to the ultimate and naked reality of life. Though she enjoys good times of her life, her realization of approaching the final destination makes her make a compromise with existential reality but with a positive note-
Her existential concerns tend to culminate in her deep understanding of intricate mysteries of life and its transience nature. She accepts and expresses her bewilderment, in indirect way, at her inability to resolve the eternal puzzle of human predicament in the world-
The poetess, further, makes us realize the eternal significance of ethereal things of life over ephemeral things of the world-
In short, My Poetry My Voice of Madhumita Ghosh is a comprehensive manifestation of her poetic experience with adroit craftsmanship with multiple characteristics of literary relevance and significance. The poetic diction, imagery grabbed the world of nature, romantic philosophy and the mystical strains and pathces together make the book quite enjoyable and readble.
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