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Architecture of Flesh:
Aesthetics of Sensuality and Spirituality
|by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar|
Architecture of Flesh
Human body, particularly the body of the feminine beauty, is poetry of God that speaks out from the creative continuum shot out from the divine beauty. His beauty is a reflection of the outer beauty of Nature that fascinates us with all the physical charms and draws our heart and mind to delve deep inside to explore the true entity and perception of inner beauty and realize the worth of life. The feminine principle of creation and the creative continuum remains well sustained and maintained by the poetic mind of the world. Sensuality of pleasure and sensuousness of the senses seem to make us thrilled and provide the sap to the monotonies of life. Love and erotic poetry is just the stimulation of our romantic, fantastic endeavour to explore more and more along the trajectory of feminine body that ultimately leads us to the illuminating realm of the divine source. In this context, Ra Sh- N. Ravi Shanker’s poetry is an interesting and engraving roller-coaster to understand the experience of roaming around in the world of feminine riches. As a competent and expressive architect, he carves out from the flesh the quintessence of poetic, spiritual, metaphysical, cerebral exuberance and excellence with unusual and bizarre imagery and stirring metaphors and this is how all the sexual connotations and denotations get transformed into an illuminating realm of divinity dormant in each of being.
With this sarcastic note, he further takes all, through this sensitive poem, to the glaring pain in the eyes of the victims to arouse some pity or fear in them:
“The man who loved her”, a sensitive, thought provoking and profound poem, talks about death. He very poignantly deals with this theme in terms of modern technology. He writes:
He further reiterates:
Ra Sh is a very sensitive heart. Atrocities on women, in particular, move him to vent out the wrath against the demonic people indulged in such heinous and repugnant misdeeds. Political involvement also faces his diatribe. Elements of casteism are also perceptible in the lines.
“Aphrodisiac” is a very sensitive write drawing the attention towards demonic process of preparing aphrodisiacs from the bones of babies. It also implies political and moral degradation. He describes such a world-
“Whistles”, a poem dedicated to Japanese film-maker Ozu, contains his lovely viewpoint on love and death. With the anatomical organs used to communicate his ideas, he expresses the subtlety of his thoughts in concrete images:
Ra Sh ‘s philosophy of karma and sense of acceptance in life is an important concern of the poet who comes up with words of solace and comforts for the people in dire distress. He exhorts such dejected hearts to smoke away all the worries of life as the problems of life are temporary. In “Cosmic Frogs”, he echoes the words of Krishna pronounced in the Gita:
In his poetry there is an undercurrent of man-woman relationship, ego clashes between the two opposite sexes, marital exploitations and conflicts. His feminine sympathy is what sharpens his keen observation of day-to-day problems faced with them. Woman is a powerful persona with dual roles. She has the power to make or mar. He states in “Homing”:
As a conscious poet of semantic excellence, Ra Sh seems to believe in the primordial sound of words- Shabd Brahma. He talks about different kinds of words with their own properties, therapeutic power of words being very significant. The following extracts from his poem “Words and their cure” can be seen:
He concludes the poem with the note of categorization of words in two five groups- moon words (soft), sun words (harsh and abusive), Sky words (light and vapour thin), Earth words (grave and growling), and Water words (wet). But he shows his preference to the word Love.
Other remarkable lines showing the sensuousness can be seen in the poem “YOU are a fucking rain!” His titillating treatment is noticeable here:
The poet is gifted with such a wonderful pen that describes his observation and perception in a fantastic way. The portrayal of death in the poem “Seizure” is so realistic and touching. The image he draws from the world of nature to give a vivid account of the physical seizure makes us reflective. He bespeaks:
Repetition of certain words as a technique to heighten the intensity is a befitting tool of the poet who exhibits the exuberant feelings in his poetry to make his readers feel so. The sensuous imagery of ‘a swollen teat’ used to show the intensity of passion of his ‘vampire girl’ is excellent. “Return of the vampire”, a sensuous poem on the love-making, has other vivid sensuous imagery such as ‘blood coated crescents’, tongue lapping his neck ‘like a cat slurping milk’ etc. As a culmination of excitement, the poem exemplifies it.
Another intriguing sensuous imagery is noticeable in “Hopscotch with calculi in the kidney” at two important places when the poet reveals:
Unlike other poems, his “War Trophies” is a severe caustic and sarcastic comment on the war-monger people or nations who spare not even the hospitals. It is a very sensitive write. The poet is saddened to see hospitals brutally bombed and turning into ‘mass graves’. He writes-
The poet is an iconoclast. He takes even a neglected thing and renders it as an object of perfection, of high standard. It is so in case of his unconventional poem “Sins”. Sin is always something to be ignored but here the poet very boldly accepts that the more we run away from sins, the more they run after us. He avers-
May layers of sins are undercurrent in the poem. He describes-
“Two Vaastu Poems” has two parts, thus presenting two situations of life. In the first part the poet refers to brutal sexual assaults of two girls and their subsequent murder. He calls this nefarious act ‘a genocidal rape’. In the latter part he talks about the juxtaposition between good and evils. He concludes the poem with a philosophical note- everything, good or bad, comes ‘under the wheels/ of an Express Highway’. The best thing about the poem is the progression of the poet’s thoughts –from flesh and sex to the spirit and spirituality. The poet feels relieved with his spiritual orgasm.“The case of girl with the slippery tattoo” is the concluding poem of the book. There is an allusion of yogic conceptualisation of the feminine power coiled inside as ‘Kundalini’. He plays with this idea arousing the spiritual awareness to enjoy the pleasure. With a metaphor of ‘kundalini’ symbolising the latent power of man, he writes:
In this way we see that (Ra Sh) N. Ravi Shanker’s poetry covers a wide range of themes: woman, sex, dominant gripping problems of contemporary life, devaluation of human values etc. Love and sex, spirituality and metaphysics, keen insights into the inner working of psyche, national and international issues, contemporary socio-political concerns, plight of woman and atrocities, occupy predominant place in Ra Sh’s poetry. His are highly eloquent and suggestive expressions. His images are picturesque, sensuous and aptly brilliant. In the Introduction, Meena Kandasamy, a celebrated poet and political activist, has rightly called the book ‘a testimony to our tortured, fragmented times- a world where we inhabit myths even as we embrace post-modernity, a world where unbridled capitalism stands ready to destroy everything on its path, a world, where cheap patriotism threatens to make us lawless land of gundanur gundas, a world where poetry becomes the last refuge.’
An abridged version published on Setumag, a bilingual journal published from Pittsburgh, USA.
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