The faint starlight rolls restlessly on the mat.
Those women talking outside have clouds passing across their eyes.
Always there is a moon that is taking me somewhere.
Why does one room invariably lead into other room?
We, opening in time our vague doors,
convinced that our minds lead to something never allowed before,
sit down hurt under the trees, feeding it simply because
it is there, as the wind does, blowing against the tree.
Yet time is not clairvoyant,
and if it has the answer to our lives, proud
in its possession of that potential which can change our natures,
beating the visions of childhood out of us,
the socialism and the love,
until we remain awkwardly swung to the great north of honour.
What humility is that which will not let me reveal the real?
What shameful secret lies hidden in the shadows of my moon?
All these years; our demands no longer hurt our eyes.
How can I stop the life I lead within myself-
The startled, pleading question in my hands lying in my lap
while the gods go by, triumphant, in the sacked city at midnight?
The Moon Moments is a poem of dreamy glide and slipping over to, visionary escapades and purposeless ramblings. Vacant reflections are the chief properties. Private reflection is the forte of his. What moon does he talks about? Something he hides from saying. How can he stop the life he lives within? It is really difficult to delve deep into psyche and consciousness layers. Disintegrated and split personality and the abnormal consciousness of man are the things he discusses in this poem. What one thinks it is very difficult to guess it about. It is a weakness of Mahapatra that he is thematically not sound. All the time he keeps about rambling, wandering. The things of childhood one loses it over the years, the passage of time. Time which keeps fleeting, passing has nothing to do with. How have our years changed, how have our times? Man in the as usual go and gait of his, marooned by care and anxiety while on the other gods on triumphant in the sacked city of midnight.
The Moon Moments is actually a poem of love, relationship and living and flowing with time down the dark corridors of memory lanes of thought and idea, reminiscence and reflection. There is nothing as static, everything but changes with time. The chit-chats of the women under the moonlight appear to be Joycean as it is in Araby and Lawrentine too in the same manner as it is in Women in Love and The Rainbow. How to say which is whose and who is what? The theatre changes it with the dramatic personae as the stories and roles keep changing it. Who the director, who the manager, God knows? Are the artistes and personae really gifted or some people are behind them? The abnormal babbling on the path of life, on seeing them ask we, are we not too abnormal? How to cut the ice of the abnormal psyche? Are we lust-free? Are we not greedy? Are we pure from our within?
It is a poem of random reflections and vague memories, what does it appear on the abnormal plane, how to say that? Similar is the case with this poem of reckoning. Where do the talks lead to finally? Say you?
The dark layers of consciousness, how to delve deep into, the abnormal consciousness of man? But the poet rambles and babbles by just as the miners of Lawrence do it entering the coal pits and mines and living life as his heroes and heroines enacting as lover men. Even in the story Sun, the hysteric heroine makes a way for.
Are they the village women sitting outside their mud houses on the mats? The nameless personae of the Indian theatre? The love girls as the victims of gender bias and inequality, poverty, underdevelopment, hunger and living below the poverty lines? Or, the women?
The title is The Moon Moments, we do know what does he mean by it? Should it be The Love Moments? Or the titbits of love? But under the cover of it, the poet talks of love, relationship and village life, the rural countryside. How were our women? How was it our life? For a long time, we used it homely things, earthen stuffs and hand-made tools. We had not even the wooden furniture. Even the cots were not available to us. Many used to sleep on the floors afraid of scorpions and snakes, but with confidence strictly held in the Naga Devata, the Snake God.
The poem takes us to the terracotta figures and figurines in love, embrace, war and devotion, so artfully hugging, embracing, loving, praying, fighting or meditating upon sculptured so on the baked plates of clay decorating the outer walls of temples and the entrance, denoting, dharma-artha-kama-moksha motif and so are our darker emotions. Can we go beyond it? Can we ever negate man-woman relationship and the stories of attachment? How the human mind and the working of it?
What it takes place in darkness none can say it about, what it to befall and take over? Is man not helpless? What will a lone woman do? If the circumstances and situations force her? How does the night hang heavy upon? How to say that?
Leave you the talks of socialism and humanism, we know it not who a socialist, who a humanist in reality, who helps whom in distress, who a friend of the bad days, who is not for ism? Mark it, none stands, stands by in the times of trouble. Man alone suffers it. Woman alone suffers by. Who to mitigate her pains and sufferings? The love for socialism, how many of us have it truly?
We are like the listeners of the haunted house of Walter de la Mare hearing it all, the strange horseman knocking at the locked gate of the nondescript wooded area mansion whereas none in the house leaving the phantom listeners listening to, seem to be whispering, the moon light falling upon and the horse chumping grass. So are the stories of our life and living. Have you heard the wailing of the night? Have you seen the depressed woman weeping inconsolably? Have you poverty quarrelling in the shanty? All these come to our mental plane when we sit to read the poem and search for meaning in a related way trying to discover the base of it.
Under the starlight, all these keep happening, taking place. The starlight falls it on the mats and the women talking outside appear to be dreamy and shadowy as the clouds seem to be passing through their personae and they dwelling it far engaged by some type of imagery ever possessive of. What do they dream, what do they think, how to say it?
How does one grow with time? How does one lose one’s innocence? How do the experiences take over? This is but Blakean. Man possessed with guilt and greed is but the other side of the story which we may mark in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Jayanta Mahapatra’s poetry is a poetry of hunger, poverty, underdevelopment, scarcity, illiteracy, superstition, and drought. His is a poetry of violence, domestic bruise, rape, murder and killing. The poor tales of poor India who has time to know it and enquire about? To read Jayanta is to lapse into random reflections, existential things and nothingness stories. Everything is but blank. Shadowed space is the canvas of his poetry. To see in terms of Beckettian ideas, why are we here? Whom are we waiting for? What is this absurdity? Oh, this absurd living of ours! Everything is but absurd.
There is some thesis, there is some anti-thesis in the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra as it is reflected through this poem and while perusing it, we think it within as if we were George Bernard Shaw, a dramatist of ideas, debate and discussion so is the case here under.