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K. Pankajam: Beyond Words
|by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar|
Pankajam, Beyond Words,
Some words are uttered, some not. Some remain hidden inside exploring the void in silence yet trying to find some form of experience as emotional expressions befitting the subtlety of existential, spiritual, philosophical experiences; for a vision to be peeled off from the crude layers of inexpressibility. "Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within", Tennyson has rightly said. What Tennyson has expressed, exactly holds true with K. Pankajam, a dashing, prolific contemporary poet who explores the voyage of life through the power of semantics in her ninth poetic collection, Beyond Words. Through words, she undertakes a journey of self-exploration touching, side by side, upon contemporary issues and concerns. In her poetry she deals with a variety of themes which proves that she is endowed with a wide range of awareness and knowledge. She not only writes on subjects of real life but also undertakes a journey in the world of nature, love, spirituality and religion and mysticism and most importantly, feminism.
The enchanting illustration of a rose on the cover page of the book justifying the title of the anthology seems to encompass the sum and substance of the poet's poetic credo, vision and idiosyncrasies; the quintessence of her aesthetics. The symbolical meaning of the rose oozing out the fragrance of the 'feel' which cannot be expressed in ordinary words is best described in the extraordinary poem "The Birth of My Poetry":
God and Religiosity
The very first poem “Infinitesimal” is a kind of dedication to the absolute entity, the holy Whole- the all-pervasive supreme force who nurtures her muse and gives her words, and also helps her ‘shed illusory walls of the sense of separateness’ for existential bliss. The religious and philosophical approach of the poet is finely and clearly illustrated through this poem. She calls the body ‘illusory walls’. The poem reflects her spiritual striving for the divine communion:
“Seeds in Prayers” is a fine poem reflecting the power of prayers in life. The image of protective darkness/ of mother’s womb’ is heart touching. Symbolically, the poet is eco-conscious and opposed to the deforestation of modern times. She writes:
Love and nature are other important preoccupations of the poet who dwells upon these themes in her poetry. Love seems to be perennial source of inspiration to the poet. It forms the subject of many of her poems. The poem, “Love and Creation” underscores the power of love. She expresses her faith in the love which is ‘stimulation, the root cause/ the basic force behind creation.’ Further, she also underlines eternal continuum of human endeavor to struggle out in the world, with an allusion of procreative process—‘the sperms to reach the egg’. She calls this act of love and its resultant: ‘the first war for existence and survival of the fittest’. She concludes:
Next poem “Tenets of Love”, colorful in contours, expresses the purpose and objectivity of love in life. She holds that when ‘the power’ of love is on, ‘shards of pains evaporate like heated camphor’. She avers that ‘whispers of love—“Bring new verve, new hopes,/ lift us both (lover and beloved) to the peak of ecstasy’s tower/ ooze life from each cleft of our beings.”
Further, the poem “Investing in Relationships” talks of the bond of relationships. She opines that love should not be hidden; it has to come out of the closet; one has to be expressive
Her poetry is remarkable for the love for the past. Memories of the days gone by are discernible in the poem “Welcome to Yesterdays”.
Yet another poem “If I could be Born Again” expresses the same nostalgic feeling:
Love for India is well recorded in the poem “Frozen Depths of Siachen”, dedicated in memory of martyrs of our country. The poet’s nationalistic fervor is expressed in the poem:
And she expresses her wish in support of their life
The poet seems to a bibliophile. As a lover of books, she weaves paean on the importance of the books on life.
Next she describes
Celebration of Seasons
“Your Touch” is a very subtle poem, suggestive in tone and contains remarkable and cardinal lines. She is of the opinion that ‘the painful comfort/ makes the lines thin' between lovers and people. So, the bond should be stronger in love because the ‘touch’ of love has the capacity to turn the ‘slimmed sins to abysmal pleasures’. She is opposed to stereotyped love:
Music and Melody
She further makes epigrammatic lines that appeal to us most—
She makes us alert against lecherous ‘fathers, teachers, seers and peers’ who can, any time, show their true diabolic nature hidden in secrets. Towards the end of the poem she makes a juxtaposition between love and lust—
“ Voices from the Womb “ is a long narrative poem comprising of six sections ; each reflecting foeticide, girl-child, aspirations of girls, their loyalty and dedication to mother, their determination to prove their worth and rights. The poet echoes voices of a girl:
Motherly Ethos and Pathos
Pankajam’s poetry is reflection of mother love and affection, delicate feeling of motherhood, child-mother relation. She underlines the elemental lines universally true to all in all respects. In the poem “The Bond of Umbilical Cord” she remarks that ‘The bond of umbilical cord is too strong to ignore’. Another poem “Small Birds, Big Wonders” captures motherhood and a mother’s perseverance, endurance and resilience.
In another poem "Nomad" she calls herself a nomad with no permanent place to dwell in and expresses her longing for merging with the tranquil ocean of divinity- peace and bliss:
Expression of the abstract idea through poetic form is an aesthetic, cathartic and ecstatic exercise which culminates into a sense of fulfillment of the creative urge. She reveals:
Poetry and Creativity
Another distinct feature of her poetry is her plausible perspective on poetic process and creativity. Her poems reflect her views on the aesthetics and art of poetry. She has composed many more poems on the process of poetic creation. With the help of stirring metaphors, she redefines a poem and the role of a poet whose objectivity lies in a reader’s becoming from what he is to what he should be- a worthy human being. In "The Birth of Poetry" her poetic creation and creativity find exquisite expression and recurrent articulation in her poetry. She uses different epithets and analogies, symbols and metaphors, images and diction to reflect her perspective on poetic writing and, calling poetry by different names. She reiterates that experience of ecstatic exaltation on birth of poetry out of inspiration and imagination is inexplicable and fascinating:
She also expresses objectivity of poetry for her
“ Poetic Rides” is yet another beautiful poem that expresses her poetic thoughts
Poetry is a delightful activity that fosters love and peace across the world. Objectivity of her creativity is well articulated in the poem “Blessed to have one more Day”:
She is a conscious poet of ecological awareness. Ecological concerns of the poet also find beautiful expression in her poetry. One such poem on nature is “Sorrow of the Soil” expressing her ecological concerns.
Pankajam's poetry also strikes the note of global strife, for example, the poem "Hopes Not Faded". Here , she describes ‘Journeys from hopes to hopelessness’. She makes a taunting comment on the mentality of the cynical people who think that the ‘ earth belongs to them/ not realizing people belong to the earth.’
In addition to the poems of love, nature and contemporary realities, there are a few poems of exhortation, motivation and encouragement. They are suggestive and motivating in approach. As the poet is a woman of wide experiences of life, she shares her mind with her readers, particularly with youths of new generation. Through the following extracts from the poem “Be for Yourself”, she offers a piece of advice:
To sum up, nostalgia, memories, longings, grief and agony etc are also the preoccupations of K. Pankajam who, in Beyond Word, realistically presents her take on all these and wide spectrum of emotions, diverse viewpoints, and purposeful perspectives in all respects. Her poetry also reflects social realism. The choice of words, use of diction and metaphors and her technique to express them as beautiful nuggets of life are brilliant and worth appreciating.
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