SEXLESS SOLITUDE AND OTHER POEMS: A REVIEW BY Y.S.RAJAN
Using those similes, metaphors and imageries, he has in fact explored the whole of contemporary life: the human dilemmas; the decay of current day academics; nature; political satire; and also deeper aspects of philosophy of life. I liked all poems but some of them tease me with puzzles that is because they give multiple imagery. The economy of words gives a crisp reading, though at times it can become a brain teaser.
The poem PEACE MISSION is relatively straightforward :
... so much of corruption
in the system
of world peace
As he goes on in two small stanzas, the narrator rises with UN peace keeping system in dollars and earnings
…”while I worry about
freedom in Congo
This is a poetry without any sexual imagery. There are several such poems in this collection.
Then one comes about the plight of the academia with the title Abusing in Sleep” with bed imageries:
the academia that care
a tuppence for native
geniuses that unmake
the imported mates who
dovetail media to flourish”
The whole poetry poignantly brings out the slavish mentality with which the entrenched academia deal with native Indian English writers.
The satire on Human Rights activism is very insightful.
“Eyeless Jagannath” is a masterly poem, which ends as :
“……. Don’t blame the poets;
there is too much emptiness
and gloom to ignore”
R.K.Singh has explored such emptiness and gloom in many of his poems in this collection. Sexual imagery comes in handy. Some poems which I like very much include e “Broken Wishes”, “Group Dance”, “Liberation”, “Sexless Solitude”, “I Hang Nobody’s Picture”, “Portraits We Fear to See”, “ Body: A Bliss”, “Orgasm”, “Sodomy”, “Nude Origin”, “I’m Different”, “Perfumed Bar”, “Realisation”, “God, Sex and the World”, and “Shiva’s Third Eye”. There are also some painful parts of life e.g. about the blind in “Too Painful” and some mind probing ones, as in “Is This All”:
“With prayer’s cocktail
live animal existence
and boast, is this all?
in self-same cocoon
fungus of illusions grow
toadstools of damned tract”
The poem on “God” is an excellent philosophical and insightful one, with seven, three-line stanzas. Similarly, “Holi” brings out the contemporary human dilemmas with rituals which span all religions.
“I am No Moses” and “I am No Jesus” are very thought provoking. The later with seven stanzas begins and ends with:
“I am no Jesus
but I can feel the pains
These are the pains of the sensitive mind and a creative genius exploring the emptiness and gloom of the contemporary world.
“Wisdom” is a remarkably hopeful poem though it starts of with the travails of a sensitive soil.
There are also some nuggets about nature, “River’s Song”, “Snake”, “Rainbow”,
containing societal metaphors. The poems “Nirvana-1” and “Nirvana-2” delved deep into philosophy of life in simple words but rich imageries.
“When I Stopped” is another poem that looks like an autobiography of many Indians. It has a beautiful hopeful ending as also the poem “Long Trip” at the end.
The last poem “It Hardly Helps to Teach” is a beautiful assertion of self-reliance in life:
“no one learns from others
and it hardly helps to teach”
It is such a truthful boldness of expression that sets apart R K Singh from many others. He has no fears. He is incisive in searching and exploring and bold in expressions. He is also blessed with sweetness of the language.
When you read this book neither will you feel sexless nor will feel a solitude. It will invigorate you to live a full life.
Y S Rajan
Dr Y.S.Rajan, Principal Adviser, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Plot No. 249-F, Sector 18, Phase IV, Udyog Vihar, GURGAON 122015.