A Marvel! — A review of “Poem Continuous” by Chitra Banerjee

I am an extremely subtle entity — yet an ardent lover of poetry and an untiring seeker of ‘beauty’ everywhere.  To write even a few words about a renowned poetic personality as Bibhas Roy Chowdhury is a Herculean task, however, I have dared to enter the zone!

As I did enter, the collection captivated me bit by bit and the enlivening juice filled me in drop by drop. “…Better I keep some wound /Beside the coming tune…”— the ending lines of “The People” startled me at the outset  and the superb lines  in “The Weather Bulletins”— “…That a life has gathered as it saved the manuscript…”   as if glittered the lives of the ‘men of letters’ and imparted  immortality and worth-liveliness in them as never before . Here I salute Mr. Roy Chowdhury.

One of the masterpieces, according to my likings is “Lunatic.” (p 28) Only a person who has undergone or is currently passing through this delicate phase of life as well as its day-to-day existence, can gauge the depth of this poem. Conceiving the whole is only an exclusive area earmarked for the poet himself — a churning experience indeed!  The second is “Ma And Her Eldest Son” (p 46) — the last stanza is so touching — touching a paradox at the same breath. The third one “The Sun -burnt Ashes” (p 52) the penultimate poem in this collection is simply a marvel.  “…I burn, I receive the light and my fingers become exhausted / Readers, are you aware this is only my future and my present?”— The lines are self-jerking and elicit a soliloquy, so far as I can explain them.

Some of the short yet stirring poems claim special mention. In “The Small Boat,” “Bhatiali — Song Of The Boatmen” – “…I keep awake in the day and night, / I write my eye in the poetry…” these lines smoothly touch the soft reality and in “I Can Leave But Why” I discovered the strange assimilation of thoughts coinciding between two distant but thinking and creative souls, though I very humbly admit my insignificance in comparison to the likes of Bibhas. “…I have planted a few trees / They will survive even after my death / I’m happy that they will shade the earth / After I leave the world…” “…চলার পথে চিহ্ন রাখ / রেখে রেখে যাও গো চলে, / পথ ফুরোব, গাছটি তবু রইবে ভরে ফলে-ফুলে…” “When will Winter come” (“…Wait, let us first understand and estimate! / Hands were there, and nothing adjacent / Even space can read and interpret.”), “Eternal” (“…Lift your face for once… / I’m not here, my absence … this is the other sky / And, there is no humiliation before the sky…”) — These particular lines bear the purported meanings if a person can place or identify himself with the poet’s sentiments.  “The Odor Of Being Upset” and “Death By Will” are two commendable creations gifted to us by the poet. The concluding lines in “Speaking With The Self” and “My Darling” exhume the whole gist and flavor of his mindset. “The Connector,” “The Poetry Of A Hibiscus Flower,” and “The Debt” are three dazzling pieces of Kohinoor, to say the least!

Turning to the front pages, as Kiriti (who has been the translator) has written in his notes, “The Tie Of Brotherhood” and “Bhatiali — Song Of The Boatmen” exhibit the deep oozing wound in the poet’s heart for the political Partition of Bengal by the British ( 1905 ) — the anguish, pang and yearnings for the re-union are still freshly alive. “The Light-House” is self-portraying … really we are in large majority, candle-shy and blind!

A few poems in the book get a bit difficult to be pursued within the horizon of senses sometimes and seem beyond the interpretation of the right spirit of the poet at that given moment.  I do definitely realize the truth that the world of poems and poetry is in most instances ambiguous and synonymous to different connotations and realizations by separate entities, choices and of course, the moods / moments of a reader.

To talk about Kiriti as a translator will be “beating about the bush,” for I have earlier said, commented and written a lot in this regard. About his work, labor and effort in this particular sphere, I will repeat the same vernaculars. An utmost tough job has been performed so easy and an almost in transmittable ray of light made to pierce through the rose-hearts of the poetry-lovers of this world! His rich English including strong vocabulary is a special asset for him.  I acknowledge his qualities and I will never lag behind in words in his praise.  Kudos!

In conclusion, I won’t fail to say that Bibhas is a poet belonging to this world now and to the second one the next moment; his expression is easy to understand yet paranormal, beyond the perception at times. The paragon in its true color and conception very deceptive at some conditions or other! The poems are subject to manifold reflections through the prism of one’s own view-points and that of the poet himself.  I wish him a sunny future and I hope his pen will continue to give immense pleasure, support and solace to many aching hearts for days to come. Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions has only enhanced my thirst more.

Chitra Banerjee

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

India

chit.banerjee@gmail.com

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Filed under Anthology, Bengali poetry, Poetry, Reviews, Translation

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