Book Reviews

Nature and Images in the Poetry of Chambial

Interpret Beauty and Struggle of Life –an aesthetic journey

A well-known poet D C Chambial is genuine and innovative and invariably offers something fresh and enriching in feelings and tiny inspiring thoughts. A poet with eleven poetry collections including one in Hindi (with four other books on literature) is also an editor Poetcrit, an international journal devoted to poetry and criticism. Songs of Sonority and Hope, a latest poetic offering has two segments of lyrics –Hour of Antipathy and River of Happiness (Authorspress Publication, New Delhi 2018). Hour of Antipathy’s images and philosophic thoughts offer elegiac fulfillment. Wellbeing of humankind is the major concern and so he tries to express legitimate anxieties through verses but in the end finds refuge in tranquility of nature that gives adequate relief.

Chambial has been and is unyielding pursuer of lyrical art with innovative contours in nuances, idioms, technique and aesthetic grace while images and metaphors drawn from nature and life, permeate poems with finesse immaculate. I am in touch with the poet for the last four decades and I have enjoyed his poems regularly…and as far as poetic art is concerned, he is a devotee, a true worshipper of elegiac art and keeps the journey unbroken and that speaks of his love for poetry.

Breeze, warmth in chillness, snow-clad mountains in winter, trees and flowers, dense woods and rivers appear symbols of nature’s love for man. In quietness, he relishes its essence and aroma and experiences unique joy, it looks and so in little magical images, he interprets life and finds its timeless bonds with humanity. Sun (The Sun Singes 53) has a definite role, and it helps man to live and so as a part of nature it blesses.

Soft breeze pregnant with heavenly fragrance,
The yellow fields spread to horizon far
Enough to booze one to the farthest pasture,
Scale skies with lips on lips, feeling warm breath.

Indifferent nature also appears obliging to humanity and teaches him art of living. Forgiving, benign and empathetic nature endorses good qualities, teaches man, and tells him to live in a spirit of care and acceptance, humanism and concord. Images of the whole cosmos one observes in a tiny lake and demonstrates how nature creates a mysterious aura around and amazes, ‘Sun, Moon, stars /systematically scattered - /Cosmos /Held in position /In a handful of water -/Puddle.' The great is always self-effacing, precise and refined, they say.

Ferocity of nature overwhelms with its striking magnificence at times. Rising smoke astonishes people watching intently the splendorous nature. Heavy rains turn into a huge bang. An earthquake causes another stunning manifestation, and an incredible canyon takes birth. Man is vulnerable before the awe-inspiring charisma nature presents and he sits aghast. ‘Wingless’ and ‘Beauties of this World’ 31 tell emotively about the allure of nature.

Long to languish
in this bowl of Nature
and merge with it;
flow to bounds beyond
like ether
wingless in silence.

Then, he says -

‘Look at the beauties; /The texture and structure. /Sit, meditate upon /this LILA in awful wonder.’ Such wonderful word pictures of nature continue to haunt an ardent man in poet, who relishes beauty of nature and breathes free air with delightful fragrance of nature’s blessings.

A wholesome outlook toward life and its complexities stuns. Man ought not to make a simple life, complex. Prolonged and in-depth deliberations of life take up a man here. If a man foretastes eternity,

Full of fun
I longed
For shower…Sun and shower
In chase since
Eternity (Chase 25)

It fulfills. Man suffers because he feels loss of sanctity, purity and truth around even among the commoners like cowherds and farmers. Relations look as if frozen as contemporary anxieties disturb. Pleasant songs of life appear to have disappeared and man sits forlorn.

Existing life is hazy as fright and fear distress and still people feign to take delight in apparently little triumphs where wickedness governs as honesty and virtues suffer in perplexity and vagueness. It is constant state of ‘panic’. In life now, man confronts people treading wrong path, love flawed and unsatisfactory ways of livelihood and therefore, face as if nature looks stained and so, somewhere, a man in poet realizes the blessing of ‘Shades of Solitude.’ Man should spend time alone and contemplate seriously, and now, he will recall acts of past good or bad and will feel that quilt and sins overwhelm.

Heart is heavy
to recount and remember,
the lapses made…
Faustus sells soul
For transitory bliss…
Sometimes, somehow even angels
Mislay their sanity
To enter the devils’ dungeon (Remorse 33)

If a man discards and destroys attributes of uncultured and vulgar thoughts, he can make life better, a thought disturbs men but scarcely have they cared. He lives a life of wickedness and enjoys tamas qualities of life where only darkness greets ultimately. Man must earn ethics in life to live in grace or else he is damned forever (We are Living 51).

We’re living in a land
that abounds in
wolves, hyenas, and jackals…
we’re living at a time
when morals, ethics and virtues
emaciated, scared…
go on felling the forest fine
To satiate insatiable desire to stockpile
The wealth and things common to all.

He warns. He tells to think deep. Yes, it is almost a philosophy of simple life and may be a manifesto of political parties rarely followed. A tragedy of man it is. Our rulers ought to cultivate virtues to make this world worth living, one may think. Every man loves to sing hymns of glory for the country and turns eulogistic but appears sickening and unrealistic in contemporary times and continues to hope of happy future …but none can stop it. Human beings can never cherish real equality and so the difference shall remain whether in caste, creed, or class.

Catch votes and run away is the principle. However, efforts to make the nation great must continue, is the prayer and sincere wish. Adequate hints of deterioration in general community’s mindset agitates a man, who thinks but is a silent spectator for the powerful people act differently while many continue to worship Mammon and Deity at the same time with emphasizes on wealth and material gains! At this moment, a man recalls theory of Karma as enshrined in Gita and some eternal truths it contains and so it appears to a realistic man an expansive theatrical staging. Thus, a man has forgotten rather lost the capacity to become a man and for him, it is preferable to say, ‘There was a Man’.

man has grown fangs to bite man;
love is lost in the human heart,
sits like a vulture on the carcass
digging tones of his own demise.

Amidst current fall in values and treacherous ways of life, the zenith of glory at times, appears desecrated and squalid. However, if one thinks of ‘A Harmonious Whole’ it gives glimpses of a happy future as he reflects on the eternal and recognizes the truth of ‘all the warmth and chill’ and there, the realization dawns and ‘the self’ feels one with the ultimate reality (Beyond the Yonder Hills).

He is insightful and slightly philosophic in phrase. However, the major area of interest is nature in totality and he finds absolute solace and comfort in the lap of nature and wishes to enjoy it in all its hues. Mysterious range of shapes it takes, and lasting impact, it exercises on human psyche. Love for those who continue life’s struggle to keep heads high and infuse objective stays intact.

He speaks of relentless efforts of man to reach sagely grandeur, an eternal wish to survive and then to give purpose to life. In tiny little endeavours, man strengthens life and humankind, and through the hard working anglers, who risk lives and earn livelihood he envisions a life of fulfillment and happiness in the vast lap of nature Strife –Lietmotif 87). Nature mesmerizes heart and intellect and he sits calm and enjoys the beauty of a small town Wellington 88, where he often spends time leisurely.

Fog always veils it
Lest some ominous eyes
Cast its spell
And corrupt the innocence high.
…The air is ever humid
Good for teas of Nilgiris,
That savours the tongue,
Aroma sends in heavenly swoon.

Stream of reverie flows on with its magical glimpses at dawn in Trivandrum, looks exciting.

Slumbering city once again
steadily begins to wake up
shifting sides sluggishly like young
bride on a carefree honey moon…

The thought instills pure feelings of inner pleasure infinite where even mundane chores also give joy abundant. If nature offers joy, terrible fury shatters dreams but it also offers an opportunity to the man to get up again and begin living when he narrates the tale of nature’s anger that destroyed Dhanushkodi –a small town in Tamilnadu.

It appears a walk, perhaps a journey in leisure when the mind is quite free from routine and wishes to forget what life in reality offers. Poet enters the home of nature and talks of its beauty and if something else takes place before him, he does not fail to see its exquisiteness and objective. River of Happiness 116, the second segment of poetry collection Songs of Sonority and Hope is celebration of nature’s divine gifts, a treasure of hope and life in its different moods, colours and rainbows. Nature is the image of god. A dry dead tree in the desert attracts birds that sing mystical notes as if it were divine hymn and the tree gets life.

The desert –an oasis!
There flowed
The river of happiness.
The lone spectator,
The only witness
To this divine spectacle.

Only nature is the source of profound and numinous happenings, because the Invisible shows its face through nature and its living beings. If he is intentional in celebrating beauty of nature, it is just a hint to the man to get a few moments away from the frenzied and monotonous time, and spend time in nature. Abruptly, he looks at ‘A Drunkard on Road’, who wants to forget life’s anguish in hooch and faintly, speaks of its baneful affect.

He knows agony and suffering life offers and so prays.
Transport, O Lord, to a land so serene,
For removed from harried hours preen.
In such an ambience of cozy bliss,
Let mundane senses kiss the divine bliss 94

Nature poets in spite of the pains and miseries with little joys that life offers, find shelter in its wholesome splendor. Nature is benevolent but the real power of man’s conduct can transform earth into heaven. Spring brings cheers in the life of man with its beauty and magic and takes one to legendary experience of past. If a river, after traversing a long distance flows into the ocean and forgets its identity, it signals merger of soul with the Supreme, a man ought to know. One must bow before the designs of gods, the invisible, because real objective of man, ‘the sole aim’ is ‘to unite with/ the ocean –the Reality.’

A man should accept truth of birth, death, day and night etc and should never entertain fears or joys but observe philosophic posture to stay happy. To grant identity even to an insect or ant elevates, or else even a tiny living being can hurt to protect its sovereignty and the message is clear in ‘An Ant and I, 113’ where he underlines concept of equality. No, not a philosophic thought but a simple statement that teaches perfect art of life.

When will the sun dawn
To make us live in harmony,
Realize the merited right
Of equality in life…
When will these all
Melt into a uniform whole
Humane humanity?

To recognize identity of woman is an acceptance of desire to live happily and genially (Woman is a Woman 119). A man should know that each one is incomplete without the other, for history tells that …she wooed humanity /even at the cost of her life /The source of all good in Man, /She’s the true strength of Man.’ The lyric is a tribute to woman power. Woman is an embodiment of ‘purity, virtuosity, piety and chastity’ and to subject a woman to scrutiny is gross injustice.

Nature blesses and offers love and caring refuge to man but as fury besieges nature, it is awe-inspiring and deadly and not only it penalizes man but also destroys him if man’s acts annoy. If man confronts terrible natural disasters, it is the outcome of man’s misdeeds, and discriminatory and thoughtless acts of vandalism perpetrated on nature (Hearts Sunk to Abysmal Abyss 126).

The nature’s ire, when it descends,
On the haughty men and their selfishness
All are left with their eyes tearless
And their hearts sunk to abysmal abyss.

Man is hungry and wants to usurp power and barely cares for scruples and loves to indulge in malicious acts, and so violence-ridden world makes life uneasy and thus, iniquity and malice hurt everyone even those fighting for survival. If man tries to create ‘Heaven of Happiness’ on earth and genuinely exhorts –Let’s join hands in a chain /In the world to scatter the pollens of chagrin /And usher for all into a new Heaven of happiness’ at the other moment, he knows that –

Down the ages, this the lesson
Man’s learnt crossing canyons of Time,
Swimming across the seas of History,
Mounting up the peaks of evolution and revolutions!

Thus, a cautious and benevolent struggle for survival continues amidst hopes and aspirations, for attainment of happiness is the goal of human life.

Man is the subject, nature is refuge and love for righteousness makes life fulfilling, is the objective of poetry, he theorizes, and it is not a very tall claim but a solemn wish. Reality appears frenzied and disquieting but the poet honestly elucidates the substance with the help of exquisite yet terrific images. A struggle continues and in intensity of ingenious upsurge, he employs images freely, and truthfully expresses feelings and in the process, he discerns a kind of fusion of the objective and the subjective world as music and rhythm enthrall.


More by :  P C K Prem

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