Solitude and Other poems
by Rajender Krishan $17 Rs.225
Solitude is a collection of 60 poems though of divergent nature have a common theme based on the poet’s observation of life’s many facets and the several questions arising in his mind which sometimes appear to have no easy answers. The poems are not grouped under any heads and we find R.K. airs his thoughts and concerns about the plight of the common man besides touching upon several social issues which need to be addressed.
I could go through the entire collection in one sitting because of the brevity of poems, true to the saying ‘brevity is the soul of wit’ and the powerful message conveyed at the end, which proves it is not the length that matters but how the poet succeeds in expressing his ideas and his philosophy of life in a nutshell through his poems in free verse. I have chosen just a few poems to illustrate this point.
The poem, ‘Solitude’, (page 3) the title of the book deals with the maze of thoughts that hop in the mind, leaving him confused but in solitude the poet experiences the essence of freedom saying, ’in the association of ‘your (written in italics) perpetual presence’. However, the illustration found on the wrapper and repeated here is rather complex for my understanding.
The inevitability of ‘Prarabdha and the quest for Nirvana is brought out well in the poem ‘Lines’ in his concluding lines on page 11 where he says ‘That’s why
On a chosen path
The lines on the soles
Keep treading and digging the labyrinth of life
In quest of Nirvana
The poem ‘Words’ (pg.17) is pregnant with meaning which conveys the inevitability of Time, the eternal predator.
‘What I am’ (pg.25) is perhaps the longest poem in the collection which makes the poet introspect in his journey of self-discovery. ‘Mirror’ (on pg.42) is perhaps the briefest poem which proves the fact that a mirror ‘cannot lie’
‘Struggling Workers’ (pg.42) makes poignant reading and the scenario unfortunately is more evident in the present times with COVID overtaking their lives.
Again, poems titled ‘Wolves’, (pg.114) and Nirbhaya on the subsequent page talk of the deteriorating social order but end with a note of hope to conquer the social evils caused by deranged minds. However, the most powerful message for an urgent need to change the deteriorating values comes in the poem ‘Kill the Devil’ on page 123.
I found the poem ‘The Fault Finder’ very amusing because the society we live in comprises more of people pointing at the black spot in a white circle and less of people offering constructive criticism.
I expected the poem ‘Migratory Birds’ to appear at the last in the collection where the poet seems to miss his country of origin where his heart really is.
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