Literary Shelf

Vivid and Vibrant - 3

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Any definition of poetry would reveal only the narrowness of the definer for it can never be defined adequately. Regarding poetic creation, however, almost every poet has his own unique insight into creativity. In the poem Childhood in the book in my hands the poet explains:

A poem comes asking me to reach my pen
Leaves into moments forgotten, face fallen,
When engrossed in my inane work I keep mum – (Miriyala Ramakrishna)

In a poem another poet explains how the letter is poetised and what poetry is:

The one
Kindling his pen everyday
With essence of versatile experience and Time
He alone
Abrading it with blood
Can poetise the letter
Walking on fire is poetry
Bearing the crown of thorns is poetry
A tear drop becoming a fiery orb is poetry
Terminating thirst and pangs of hunger is poetry – (Kamisetty Siva Sankar)

With a creator's confidence it is said that poetry is not unaligned:

If poetry were to be cut with logic
What remain are not ideas
Only fragments of words – (N. Udaya Bhaskar)

Childhood the idyllic time in man's life has been a favourite subject with poets in any period. Here is the conclusion of A letter to childhood:

Let's all invite childhood into the present and the future
Invoking childhood let's forge with invincible optimism
Let's keep sturdy humanism and puroty bubbling in childhood
Lets it shape it as a sun lamp to light up the nation... – (K. Kishore Kumar)

Childhood can make a poet pensive and sad too when children whose childhood has been snatched away mercilessly from them appear:

Whenever I set foot in that eating house
Either removing dirty cups or washing dirty crockery
At an age when he should be walking to the school with a slate
Blocking my way to joy he'd twist me then and there – (S. Shamimulla)

The elegiac mode is occasional but then it becomes compulsive when the mood comes. The sudden death of Godavari Sarma drew this from a grief–sticken friend:

At the juncture when friends like me have been proffering
heaps and heaps of good wishes and congratulations
never did we imagine you'd fall, back broken, on the highway – (Miriyala Ramakrishna)

Here is a poem on a poet lost to the world and to his friends, Ajanta:

Two wildernesses
Two weapons
Yawning on mirror
Empires two
Two great trees
Two great serpents
In a mob parallel
Diasopra tunnels two – (Burra Subrahmanyam)

The same subject, the same stimulus draws two different kinds of response, especially from poets. Here are two such on the subject of silence:

Silence is a penance
Silence is a refuge
A wepon for any man – (R.V.S. Sundaram)

I hate wearing silence, hate bearing it
Silence is poison gas–termite to the tree
Silence is hanging for man's being – (Kotam Chandrasekhar)

The awe admiration and adoration for revolution is really enthusing. When a sudden change is necessary and a total transformation is the need of the hour revolution is the answer, the solution according to many.

Time is my pen gun
Right from the forests of Srikakulam
Upto the mines og Singareni
There are reverberating thought explosions – (Radheya)

A selfless supreme sacrifice calls for a memorail, which springs out:

Rose (Rises)
Like a harvest
From Mother Earth's fields of gold
A red memorial
Making him immortal – (Phani Kumar)

For the revolutionary ideal does not die. Memories haunt such for a century:

Ideal is not a flower to drop at the noise of the gun
We are not the ones to divulge secrets in fear – (Sayyed Haneef)

The plight of the Bosnean women has drawn his response from a poet:

My blood boils with rage
My grief flows like a song of tears
Reverberates unremitting
In space beyond the universe
My mind is in a quest relentless
For ways to liberate Bosnean women – (Turlapati Rajeswari)

The plight of women, both in society and at home, in different conditions and various stages of life, as a subject worthy of exercising our thought is recognised by both women and men poets. Feminism need not necessarily by the exclusive domain of women alone. Not all men are misogynists and never all people are cynical. A sentence of death by hanging, pronounced by a court in United Arab Emirates, against a young woman who killed her employer for attempting to rape her provked this:

Yes ! Really ! Hanging is a must !
Even though a kid
Isn't a maid a maid !
Hang her and dump the body outside the outskirts
Let the corpse be paraded as a deterrent
Declare and prove : “honour is but a straw in life's struggle”
If honour and character don't go up the cross posit”
“Time cannot move”
Let this be included in textbooks
“Hired lives are ever others'” – (Seshabhattar Venkata Ramana)

A budding poet (still at college) brings out the lot of young women:

Callously apathetic
Howled, bawled at, or, persuaded
She orchestrates a song of unconcern
The one self–effacing
The one who lost herself on her own. – (Kompalli Poorna Vithal)

Men too have started looking with concern and sympathy into the condition of being a woman in a decadent age through their personae, a woman in this case:

With disinterested glass eyes where tears don't eddy
I'd be praying to god
“Don't you change this butterfly
Into a caterpillar again!” – (Chevuri Sriram)

The speaker in this poem is a young man:

My 'silly'mother
Knowing only to love and nothing else
Doing nothing but loving
Wounded, wounds never forgotten, With throbbing pain
With her back to us, grieving, grieving
She doesn't really know anything except loving. – (K.Srikanth)

The persona in the poem Fly before Flame could be a precocious boy:

In Mehendi quarter
When you become a reflection of a trodden star in the gutter
I'am the one eating the caught rupee roti
In the night when none is driving making you a nail in the wall
Running your hand on the dry tummy
Giving me bobs of kisses
Every moment of your feeling
Gets recorded in me...   – (Sayyed Jabir Bhasha)

Here is another poet who has an insight into a woman's yearning for loving concern and tenderness but gets only lust thrust on her:

I have become a mother–tool for your children
For your sake I've bound my life
The problem of three younger sisters
Made me mother for your children
Bow my head for food already tasted
On my body fevered with pain
Your expanding organs... – (B. Madhava Rao)

And then there is powerful reaction against male chauvinism:

Now I'm not a lotus from the mud of parasitism
I prefer being born as a woman to being a trunk in the wild – (Varre Rani)

Then there is confident, mature voice inspiring optimism too in the poem Woman ! Know What you are!

Granny had fabulous wealth of ideas
Did she commit suicide, wail like a coward ?
She could give you life for she had brains
If dyke of tears gets breached–no compensation at all ! – (Iyyanki Seeta Devi)
The myriad hues of mother's love and the child–mother bond of elemental, sentimental feeling in all its complexity have been explored by one hundred and odd poets in Amma, a collection brought out by Ranjani. This is a unique experiment too in that it initiated a significant move to get readers interested in poetry written on this universal theme. This has given an impetus to poets to explore the theme against a vastly changed scenario even in this basic familial relationship. Here is an evident attempt to bring a shift from ovement–centred poetry to theme centred writing. A thoughtful individual, a grown up person who is also an anguished or joyous person sees mother as a slogging human being. Bare–footed is as much a symbol as a mere yellow thread as insignia of wedlock. The mother's travails of finding herself starved of ilial affection moves the poet:

Except calling “I am hungry!”
Whoever has bothered about her
Whoever paid attention to her hunger
The red hot sun in her tummy? – (Allam Narayana)

It is painful that even a mother doesn't take kindly to her own daughter who has given brith to a female child. But the motherlines of the young mother is moves one to tears :

Peeved about the dowry being inadequate–sly grunts
Of those who took her are not enough
Those who bore her too are cross for bearing a female
Even then–melting the hardened heart of the mother
She proffers her nipple to the new born baby girl
Arrived afresh on the earth – (Indraganti Janakibala)

Here are the mother's affection and loving concern by two poets:

Mid night
Everyone at home in bed
At last
When knocked on the door
Mother woke up with a start !  – (Namadi Sridhar)

If I lot my way in the dark
Shows the little lantern
if the glow wouldn't do
For me she'd light up her heart itself – (Pemmaraju Gopala Krishna)

A son's deep hatred formale insensitivity in his own father:

Dad, having returned consigning her to flames
Before nightfall fixed a muhurat for a second marriage
That night me dead as dad's son
By morning
Took birth as mother's son – (Satish Chandra)

And then the confession of a son:

How many times did I wipe mother on the slate !
In the creases on her forehead I'm a sentence struck
Tripping when walking with faltering steps
I became mon's grief
becoming sick, I made her take to the sick bed
Going far away, I made her take to the roads
Putting my hand in dad's pocket made her a thief
For some expiation I am a sin
For some punishment I am an offence – (Prasen)

Another poet expresses his yearning, which is an eye–opener to everyone too:

Mother alone
Since millions of years
Has been travelling from womb to womb
Trying hard, labouring to deliver Man... – (M.S. Suryanarayana)

For another mother is a memory:

Just I am reminiscing the day you lived
Just for my sake
The day you ate just to suckle me
The day you laid the leaf for me and became water drunkard
The day you filled the ocean of tribulations in your eyes and
Laughed for me becoming a Niagara – (Enugu Narasimha Reddy)

Specimens of socio–economic detritus have drawn the attention of poets. Pedammalavadu, the wandering self–whipping showman, a mendicant and the ice fruit vendor outside the school in the small town are cases in point. The starving charcoal piece painter of portraits on road junctions is the subject of a poem by Y.Sambasiva Rao. Here go more into the portrait gallery, the attar saheb, the fisherman, the weaver on the loom too:

...I know his bicycle and its tinkle
His cloth bag, flowing beard and his mind too
But then the only thing I don't – is his name
But then, why a name for whiffs of fragrance ! – (Cheekolu Sundariah)

Paddles broken, sails tattered
We are ourselves are fishing lines now
No more verve to reach the shore – (Motukuri Ashok Kumar)

There is no poison worse than hunger
No conspiracy meaner than penury
No lie worse than a loud promise
Penury is our national property
Our natural wealth hunger deaths
How many a starvation have those hands recorded !
How many coloured worlds those hands have created ! – (P. Vidyasagar)

Transmitting a god every day on the road
Dreaming of tomorrow's god and tomorrow's small coin
The roadside Ravi Varma who just has cold and no taste of life
Would go on like a leaning bag of charcoal swaying
Blowing his breath to clear the dust on the road to draw. – (Y. Sambasiva Rao)

The suffering and anguish of the downtrodden, oppressed and persecuted remain. Their yearning for human dignity cannot, unfortunately, be given by statues or paper guarantees.

When looking for a room to rent the “To let” board asks caste
When doors are shut on our face
However did I cool the acid of tears in my eyes ! – (Nakka Vijaya Bharati)

Despair leads some to wordy virulence and vituperation.
Instead of giving his floor a dung wash, we'd piss
Rip open his entrails with the sickle we carry in the waist
We'd skin him and with that on the drum play a round – (Karri Vijaya Kurmari)

Even if I lie heart–broken would their hearts become puddles?
Beasts that eat placenta; would they have love for us ? – (Chitram Prasad)

Hereafter your deceit I'll put an end to
I'd soak your skin in my dirty receptacle
Your fat I'd melt to burn in my fire – (Kommu Sudhakar)

It is the gift given only to a few to have an insight into the hard and painful realities of life. Here is one who depicts the pain of perennial, smothering smoke:

The damp of the floor runs its fingers on the burning heart
Flame splutters helplessly, burns, unable to get on
To drain the gruel or take off the curry lest it should burn
Even before the action is begun
Smoke boms draw swords in the eyes
Every time before the choolha
Smokeless dreams go on eddying in the eyes – (M.V. Rami Reddy)

The lad with the rag who stops the scooterist to give a quick wipe to the two–wheeler draws sympathy if only one gives him a thought:

An ideal child yogi for all sap–dried and hapless unemployed
An ulcer raging, growing every day in Mother Bharat's tummy
The capering tortoise dashing towards the twenty–first century
In the umbilicus of future Bharat
He is a spark undistinguishable. – (Challa Ramaphani)

Poisonous economic airs and aggressive marketing spell our doom. In the poem Clay man the poet foresees:

Where crops should grow
Along with sweat, blood too, runs dry
Where crops should grow
Life becomes calatropis–filled and becomes dark
I'd be wailing – (Katragadda Dayanand)

A capacity to exercise the mind over existence with a measure of seriousness and insight into the nature of things, particularly, against a scenario of decadence and loss of values is given to many but not everyone can express it as a poet does. When thinking individuals become passive spectators, the body politic needs a radical treatment:

With appeasement tonics
Vomiting of intolerance wouldn't abate
With injections of threats
Flames in the heart wouldn't be doused
Fanatic, rogue elephants wouldn't be subdued
For just this reason
Surgery; new blood. – (Vemuri Venkateswara Sarma)

A poet sees the sea as his teaching university and a graveyard as well:

In the stages and the end of youth
The sea was my university, the one teaching me all
About the diversity of life, the inviolability of Fate
Of Life's complexities and the dirt of complicated living
And thus he concludes
This graveyard of the sea of humanity
Is always a burning land of cadavers
A land of action–a land of compassion – (Viriyala Lakshmipati)

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More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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