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Bunch of Blooms: A Critical Analysis
|by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar|
Bunch of Blooms (Poems)
Flowers are lovely and beautiful; their fragrance is even more beautiful, soothing and pleasing but when they are kept in between the pages of the books, aroma of love and romance takes an ecstatic flight, on the wings of soaring imagination. It is heartening to see K. Pankajam, a very prolific poet of high repute, standing in the garden of literature, with joy and pride, with her Bunch of Blooms, her eighth collection of poems tempting her readers to go through each enchanting petal of the book. Divided into seven parts, Bunch of Blooms is a beautiful garland of her thoughts and feelings and emotions, manifested through various objects of nature, around humanity, love, peace and bliss, and of course, the Truth. In Preface, the poet herself reveals- ‘The thematic dissection is not fortuitous, but delicate.........”, “Themes stem from my observations especially social concerns like lawlessness, the dismal tale of women etc.” Indeed, her poems mirror the mores of society and happenings around.
Elements of religiosity and spirituality are also galore in her poetry. Her “Holy Himalayas Beckon Me” is remarkable in this respect. She explores the meaning of life to understand the journey of life. She expresses:
The poem is noteworthy for a brilliant use of transferred epithet and personification- ‘wicked winds’ and ‘meditating mountains’. The spiritual beauty of the mountains inspires her to demystify the intricate lore of existence.
‘Azure sky’, ‘stunning moon’, ‘velvet desires’, ‘voluptuous pleasure’, ‘giggling stars’, ‘clusters of clouds’ (Spite ) etc show her extraordinary skill of using the power-packed diction that is enough to evoke the feelings in the readers.
Despite the troubling tentacles of nights she never gives in and strengthens her zeal and patience even more and waits-
Fireflies, moths, flowers, rivers, peacocks, trees, pearls, storms etc help her in articulation of her thoughts, ideas and feelings. They carry the quintessential essence of her poetic creativity and expression in some way or the other. “Fireflies”, a symbolical poem, expresses her wonder at the well-kept world of insects and hence she stands and stares at the ‘sojourn’. The caravan of fireflies seems to be celebrating ’the carnival of light’ that at least ‘lights up ‘the mind of the poet. She writes-
Similarly, the poem “Moths”, again an insect-centric poem, is quite optimistic in intent and shows the poet’s observation of insect world. Metaphorically, the moths or ants, gifted with ‘translucent wings’, celebrate ‘a single night’s glory’, ‘dancing around licking flames’. It is so didactic and in purpose. On the other hand, the poet’s “The Peacocks”, with ‘bright fluorescent colours’ impresses and inspires the reader with their beauty, though short-living. The poet rightly remarks:
The poet seems to be blessed with natural inwardness. ‘Sky’, ‘earth’, ‘creeping caterpillar’, ‘winged butterfly’ and other elements of nature contain something meaning for the people. In fact, they are ‘a symbol of resurrection’. Nature is the ’sign of love, joy and hope’ The biblical reference exhibits the poet’s sense of staunch religiosity. The budding process from ‘pollen’ to the fertilized ‘plants’ teach a great lesson of life, and reveals as to how the dream is translated into reality, ‘a sweet feast for tomorrow’. All the desires find culmination and fruition as they are carried ‘straight to the heaven for grant’. In this way, she finds the sparks of divinity in nature which is the best source of fulfilment of dreams and wishes of life. The beauty of nature adds ‘magic in life to relish’. The poetic vision of the poet is far-sighted as reflected in her poem “From Earth to the Sky”. Highly speaking of glory of nature, she avers:
She repeatedly keeps glorifying nature weaving the poems in the praise of nature- “grandiose of the sky enthrals me’, stars at a distance know my desires’, ‘whooshing wind instils energy in me’, leaves ‘whisper in y ears’. She contemplatively listens ‘their doleful tales’. She opens her heart and says in “Tonight is Different”:
Influence of Robert Frost on her poetic sensibility and expression can be witnessed in her poem “Pause for a While” which appeals to the readers to admire, appreciate and enjoy the charm and bounty of nature. “Give me one Minute” deals with importance of time ‘ to stay calm, connected and contended.’ “The Tree of Sorrow” has a brilliant metaphor. “Pearls” again bespeaks of beauty and bounty of nature. In Wishes Immaculate” she expresses her wish to sustain and maintain the purity of nature:
The second section “When the Sky Poured” comprises of only six poems. Here she talks about the fierce aspect of nature, as we see in the poem “We are One”. Leaving aside the beauteous part, she shows her awareness of natural calamities and disasters. She presents a realistic scene of flood that causes heavy toll on life. However, she firmly believes that nature connects and unites people and makes them realise to stand in solidarity for one another. She accepts:
“Invisible Heroes” is an extension of “We are One” as both the poems are imbued with the same thought of getting united in midst of troubles for the sake of humanity. Motivational and inspirational, the poem highlights the philanthropic deeds of the ‘heroes’- selfless youths, army secular figures who cross the line of religions- for the rescue of the people in troubles. In times of devastations, ‘religious barriers’ are dismantled. The poet presents a secular picture of life- Muslims cleaning the temples, Hindus feeding in the mosques. She eulogies the duality of nature:
“The Mute Messengers” also carries ‘a message/ to fortify human bonds/ change the common convictions/ and fight natural calamities jointly’ as the flood is always revengeful; nature just tests our enduring perseverance and our psychosomatic might during troubled times.
Her perspective on lust is well articulated in another poem “Feasting on Lust”. She bespeaks of a beautiful yet eye opening regular encounter a girl has to face while passing though the crowds of vulturous eyes of so called Romeos. It is also a bitter comment on those looking at a passing or crossing girl with lascivious eyes. However, society is full of such good people also who offer ‘jacket’ of protection when’ she feels ‘the weight of a hundred eyes upon her.’
Her poem “Seeing the girl” exemplifies the magic and marvel of love in life. When true love happens, all sort of barriers cave in. Nothing matters more than love. True love is like ‘a translucent mirror’ reflecting ‘concealed joy’, ‘mutual adulations’, ‘censored passions’ guiding to the path of happiness and dream crooning the lyrics of life. It is the indelible ink of love that writes beautiful songs of life. Her “Soul and Sixth Sense” , a finest lyric, sums it up:
True, “Life is a celebration” of love against hatred, hope against despair, success against failure, and of dreams and future.
Pankajam's viewpoint on poetry, poetic diction and words, and creative power and expression is praiseworthy. For instance, let's see "Poetry":
Words are always pregnant with meaning but unless they are expressed, they keep writing within. Words are the weapons for the creative people not only to fight against social injustice; but also to sustain human aspirations. In “My words Long to Belong” she underlines the role and responsibility of a poet and objective of poetic writings:
“Prose and Poems” embodies a wonderful juxtaposition between the two. She divulges that poetry, an arrangement of special and appealing words, aims at enlightenment, ecstasy and emotional and intellectual fulfilment. Imagination lends glowing wings to it. In poetry, readers interpret the meaning therein, in their own way and evolve their own perspectives. Unlike a poem, prose is ‘ a one dimensional journey/ with its wisdom’. The firmament of poetry is immense while that of prose is confined. In “My Poems Search for their Author”, she compares life to a poem showing the inter-connection between the two. She says:
Fifth section “Pristine Thoughts” is a marvellous collage of beautiful thoughts on various vicissitudes of life such as sleep disorders, stress, hurly burly and sedentary life styles, disputes and exchange of heated words, fortune and misfortunes of a person, obstinacy, revenge, fear, hate, deceit, pride, causes and effects, gains and losses, terrorism, oppression, desperation, mysticism and exploration etc. Hinting at human predicament, she calls man ‘a puzzle’:
However, she never forgets to thank the positive force for providing all that people need on the earth. Her heart is filled with gratitude for fulfilment of existential needs, achievements, love, happiness, friendship, care and affection of her dear ones and most importantly peace and sleep. In “Gratitude” she expresses her thankfulness to nature:
The sixth section “Tools of Sin”’ is a sensitive manifestation of her feminist viewpoint on the conditions of woman in male dominated society. The poems under this section are all woman- centric. She vehemently satirizes the misogynistic attitude of the people and tries to highlight the feminine power or her creative energy for sustaining the continuum of mankind and humanity. While " The Misogynist Society" brings to the fore the unsecured life of woman or girl and hatred against 'so-called ‘perpetrators' carnal rule of sin' in ' an apathetic society' where there are 'holes in the laws', her" Caged Bird" poignantly throws light on the miserable plight of woman and advocates for her rights. She is an Indian version of Maya Angelou in realistic portrayal of women’s travails. She pleads for the liberty of woman. “Aftermath- The Turmoil” is a heart-wrenching poem showing various atrocities meted out to woman- from physical and sexual assault to emotional and social alienation. Her ‘traumatic abuse’, ‘guilt and self-blame’, helplessness, pang and pain are the aggravated ‘wounds’ that don’t heal’. Nevertheless, she ‘wants to regain lost shine’.
The theme of man-woman relationship is further carries forward in “Is This too Much to Ask for?” It is a retort given to a man who takes his wife for a commodity. She daringly declares:
She deserves respect and honour for her ‘inner universe’, chastity, loyalty and individuality. She also brings to his notice:
Last two poems of the section “Realize your Potential” and “Being a Woman” are the poets appeal to woman to take pride in being born as woman with ‘sweet shyness’ and ‘ blushing cheeks’ as she is special prodigy of God. In the former poem she addresses with exhortation:
In the latter she bugles with stronger force to foster ‘peace between us’ and equally joins together to complete the journey from life to death. She proclaims:
The concluding and seventh section- “Pocket Poems” has eleven three liners which give a finishing touch to the Bunch of Blooms.
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