Book Review: 123 Unfinished Poems by Anand Kumar

Santosh Bakaya

Review by Santosh Bakaya

BOOK : Reflections on the Window Pane: 123 Unfinished Poems
POET: Dr Anand Kumar
PRICE RS 190.00
PUBLISHER: FOSWAL [Foundation of SAARC Writers & Literature]

Spread over 120 pages, Anand Kumar’s poetry is a visual treat for lovers of poetry. He begins by invoking the universal mother, offering his salutations to all the gurus of poetry, Valmiki, Vyasa, Kalidasa, Auribindo, and forging ahead with his own mystical- surrealistic – sublime pearls of wisdom.

Throbbing with stunning imagery, his poems encapsulate the wisdom of life. With an effortless  ease , and an awe-inspiring  felicity of language, he writes about love, passion and desire, war, peace and terror, humans and idols, the real and surreal, age and death, festivals and children, and nature.

With a deft use of his quill , this poet paints deft word pictures, which make a snug niche for themselves , in the heart , and  head .

“Thunderbolt smote the kohl-gilded sky.
 Water burst forth from cracks in the heavens.
My city melted like rock-salt sculptures.
”[The marble city of Maya, p 5]

 As I read this verse, my head shot up towards the sky, searching for the cracks in the heaven; it is so evocative a depiction.

 This is followed by two short and succinct poems, which reverberate with the sagacity
 of ages, [Am I a dream, and Who am I?]

“Am I a Dream?
Am I
 Just a face
 Among a billion faces,
A tree
In perennial woods,
 Or a dream
 Brewing in A sultry noon?”[p 8]

 In the next poem, WHO AM I? He asks,
“Who am I?
Who am I?
An ancient magic slate
To pen and wipe
Serial biographies?
A sea sprite on stage
Of the condensed sky?
Who am I? Who am I?
Whoooo, aaaaam aaaaee ?”[ p 9]

So simple, yet so powerful!

Then there is a stoic tree outside a burning pyre, which senses neither miseries nor joys, but stands unfazed – unaffected, unmoving.

“I talk to the sun and its shade,
 Heat and cold, wind and rain,
Cicadas, geckoes, squirrels and koels
 My resident djinns and visiting angels.

 Thank you very much for your invite.
 I cannot break free.
 Do pardon me.
 Know this,
 I am a tree.
 [RSVP, P 9]"

 The following  words  about a mother's love went straight to the heart , making me feel a tingling sensation in the eyes.

‘Mother’s Love
A single fire-fly In black womb of night
Is the Mother’s love
 In Stygian infinite. [P 30]
[On the birthday of the Mother of Sri Aurobindo , Ashram, Pondicherry, 2013].

 I really loved his poem Wishes [p30], where he compares wishes to “lady birds with polka dots.”

The mesmerizing poetic-prose in the title piece, Reflections in the windowpane [pp15-18] left me gasping for more,  and the line, ‘in a tunnel, half under the earth my grandfather has lit a red fire. Stallions can’t get in, elephants won’t follow.” were permanently etched in my heart and mind, and I did not have to close my eyes to visualize this scene, but it was right before me – A powerful  visual imagery!

  Hold on , the poet also has a  caustic sense of humour , a scintillating wit  , leaving the reader with a smile which refuses to go;  this one can amply see in the section of Humour, Sarcasm and satire [59- 67] where he writes about corruption [59] Socrates' Xanthippe [63-64]  and much  more , but his satirical poem Rhinowati [p 67]  had me in splits and I could even imagine the poet chuckling  in self- congratulatory mirth.

This anthology is a smorgasbord of bite-sized poems packing a punch – short, succinct and sublime; and also longer ones leaving behind a lingering after taste .Metaphysical, mystical , metaphorical and meditative,  the poems heal a parched soul.

He allows his inward eye to rove over life's whims and fancies ,pricks his ears to  the undercurrents rippling in the river of life, and in the process, is struck with certain life-changing epiphanies.

By the time I finished reading it, I  found myself  indulging in self- introspection ,  was  also struck by some epiphanies  and awed by my own transformation into a mystic ‘dancing in a catatonic trance.'

 It  is a must read for all lovers of good poetry.

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