- Full of sensitivities for sensitive souls!

Full of sensitivities for sensitive souls!

By Shiva Kant Jha

a collection of poems by Dr S L Peeran,
Member (Judicial), CESTAT
Published by Bizz Buzz, Bangalore
No of Pages : 68; Price : Rs 50/-

DR Johnson said, with his characteristic perspicacity and crispness, that 'the business of a poet .... is to examine, not the individual but the species; to remark general properties and large appearances. He does not number the streaks of the tulip." In doing this business, Dr Peeran in his Fountains of Hopes , has shown remarkable moral courage and rich esemplastic imagination. Most of the poems in this miscellany of his poems show without doubt that he is at the most conscious point of our generation. Like Thomas Mann's Death in Venice , the poems make us reflect on our civilization, which glitters with sophistication, but is degenerate, decaying, and corrupt. The poet brings to our mind the Wallace syndrome, explained with force by Alfred Russel Wallace, emanating in our high technological age from the worrisome malady emanating from fast changing technology and stagnant morality.

For quite sometime, I have been thinking, in course drawing up the first draft of my book The Cultural Crisis of Our Times, about the pathology of our times. I find that my research and reflections are leading me to develop the same insight which made Dr Peeran express his criticism of our times in words so felicitous and images so sensuous and suggestive as these in the poem entitled 'Modern Times'.

Lo! Day and night passing by -

Slipping into new zone of modernity,

Mall culture, cell phones, plastic money,

Condoms, junk food, single mothers,

Gays, night dancing girls serving

Wine teasing young minds for fun;

With bonhomie and poppy culture all around.

The images and their sequential juxtaposition configure and choreograph before our mind's eye the process of our decadent civilization where the irony, [to which W B Yeats referred in his 'Second Coming' ("The best lack all conviction, While the worst are full of passionate intensity")], is writ large, though shrouded under, to borrow the words of Sombart, 'oozing flood of commercialism' which is, through stealth and deception, dragging the Western civilization down. In 'Raining Fire and Brimstone' he asks God a devastating question reminding one of the question Job had put to God in the Holy Bible's Book of Job. The poet asks:

"O Heaven Where is Thy promised Mercy?

The poet has a song in his soul when he says 'I look up now for fresh dreams'. However, we reap only the consequences of our deeds. The poet says in 'Fountains of Hope':

Let's find shores bereft of saline waters.

A place where brimstones don't rain.

These words echo what Lord Krishna had said in the Bhagavad-Gita . The poet adds new dimensions of thoughts given birth under our contemporary mores and circumstances. The Lord said:

Atmaiva hy atmano bandhur
Atmaiva ripur atmanah.

We are ourselves our friends; we are ourselves our foes. It is this understanding, which led the poet to navigate through numerous themes of great contemporary relevance. In this high creative pursuit, the poet evaluates many ways, and measures many institutions of our times. He weighs them with insight; and where he finds them wanting, he responds to them with dexterity in the language of suggestions. Nevertheless, on a careful reading of the poems, one experiences a dominant note and a supreme assertion in the poet's abiding    HOPE. The Mahabharata says that it is futile to become sad for the sufferings that are common to most people. Prudent men always endeavour to find ways to get over them. It is worthwhile to recall what Horace had told Ulysses: 'never be overwhelmed by the tides of misfortune' ( adversis rerum immerasabalis undis ). The poet is right in saying 'Destiny will judge me right one day'. Hence, it is time to act. The parable of Penelope's web shows that Hope alone helped her survive her drudgery in order to achieve her objective:   she lived and worked with Hope. All of us live, as Goethe says:

At the whirring loom of Time unawed

I work the living mantle of God.

Ours is a great democracy. We can survive in glory only until Hope survives. Lord Bryce, after noting what ails democracy, observed:  

"Hope, often disappointed but always renewed, is the anchor by which the ship that carries democracy and its fortunes will have to ride out this latest storm as it has ridden out many storms before."

This collection of poems is well titled.

What enthralled me most was the quality of the imagery in the poems. It is true that what images convey depends largely on 'our capacity to visualise'. A reader's observation post and his spiritual attainments determine the range and quality of poetic experience which imagery can communicate to him. However, the images of the poems are expressive and suggestive as they acquire meaning from the central thread in the poet's deep-felt thought. The poems evidence a sensuous shining forth of ideas with rich resonances that lasts long in the mind of a perceptive reader. Stock-responses do not mar the poetic excellence. Metaphors are not worn out. The poet moves in his poems from peak to peak after sojourning on plateaus: this is natural when one reflects the complex realities of our times, and responds to these with utmost good faith. It is remarkable that nowhere the poet is heuristic. He keeps his reader agile and reflective through the cavalcade of the poems. The poems are highly readable. They deepen our perception, they delight us, and they inspire us. They prove that poetry is not dead in our locust-eaten years where the overweening commercialism is turning even human beings into commodities for sale. This reviewer hopes that the poet's oeuvre would receive wider appreciation world over. - Links on Shivakantjha - Links on Shivakantjha

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