Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Book Review:

R.K. Singh
Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2009. pp.86, Price Rs.98.

Well Painted Internal Scapes

Many critics and reviewers, under the influence of the prominent poets of the 1960s and 70s have come to believe that the genre of Indian English poetry has now come to a standstill. With their myopic vision they believe that no worthwhile poetry has been written since a couple of Nissim Ezekeils, Ramanujans and R.Parthasarathys.

Recently Bhaskar Ghose in his article “Tragic Irrelevance” in the Frontline (13 February 2009) declares that “a number of people have been writing garbage and passing it off as poetry.”(p.89) He laments that “a great deal of depth, richness of expression and awareness is now confined to the circle of poets who read one another’s poems, and to a small number of lovers of poetry.”(p.89)

If poetry appears irrelevant, it is not because good poets have ceased to appear. It is because publishers do not find much money in the business of poetry. There are several good new poets who have published their volumes either themselves or from small press, and for want of proper distribution they have not been able to reach out to appreciating audience, connoisseurs, academic critics and reviewers in magazines and newspapers.

As a student, researcher and teacher, I am convinced that relevant and aesthetically sound poetry is being written by many less known or new poets. But if a publishing house like Oxford, Penguin or Sahitya Academy does not notice them or finds no sense in investing money in publicizing their poetry, the fault lies with the system which creates and sustains a situation which is least conducive to poetry reading, writing or publishing in India.

It is also disappointing to see that anthologies such as 60 Indian Poets (ed. Jeet Thayil, Penguin, 2008) highlight only those few poets that appear in the west or do not live in India. It is unfortunate again that the critics and reviewers take note of only those poets who are supported by foreign press. The genre of Indian English Poetry cannot grow or survive with such a negative attitude.

However, there are critics and poets who have taken stand against such stances of enlightened readers like Bhaskar Ghose, critics like M.K.Naik or Bruce King and anthologists like Jeet Thayil, and worked hard to promote quality poetry in English.

It is high time they took note of a relatively less known poet, R.K.Singh, whose 13th collection of poems, Sexless Solitude and Other Poems has a very competent foreword by another poet- professor- critic, I.K.Sharma. Sharma seems to have kept in mind the love-hate attitude of the media and academia when he writes, “In contrast to many poets who peddle poor prose cut into lines of poetry, Dr Singh’s poems are sober, mature and disciplined. Though written in free verse they are yet compact. Neither the words nor emotions go astray. No cliché exists there. Only the power of plain words on display.”

The hazy sketch of a meditative mind on the cover page well-defines the title as well as the poems in the volume.
A marked feature of Singh’s poetry is that the poet puts before his readers, his perceptions and experiences in a very unconventional manner. His frequent use of sex expressions in his poetry is one such example of Singh’s unconventionality:

I secrete poetry like semen
…I’m different; I live in my poems
dressing or undressing like sexact
long or short, in bed or kitchen (‘I’m Different’, p.53)

Sex expression is a trade-mark of Singh’s poetry but in the present volume he has scarcely used it.

The other distinct quality noticed is the way Singh maneuvers language to make his readers think along with him. The poet never becomes tedious as there is no use of stock words; in fact, new words are brought in to refresh the language. Like a purely post- modernist poet, Singh weaves in words from sciences, media/ journalism and technology in a way to bring newness in his poetic diction and to relate with his present day readers.

Throughout the volume we find the poetic mind is engaged in peeling off the layers of abstraction, illusion and theoretical truths that reign the society. As he says-

…at the day’s end can’t reflect
something positive to take
pride in myself justifying
the age or hours just prolong
the animal existence
prove worse than animals with
smallness of mind and concerns
forgotten like news flashed in
media without vision (‘Ignite Minds With Flickers’, p.13)


Living among the sick
and the sickening what else
shall I carry except
germs and allergens
… I want to sleep without pills
Drinks ‘zines or sex
thoughtless prayerless in peace. (‘I Want to Sleep’, p. 16)

Sexless Solitude and Other Poems is the tension of inwardness, patterned in a kaleidoscopic way where every slide mirrors an introspective mind that examines the authenticity of the ‘self’ and the society. The poet skillfully employs the first person narrative to handle the rhythms of consciousness of the meditative mind. It is this state of mind where the body lets off trishna (cravings), dvesha (hatred) and avidya (ignorance) and fully accepts imperfection, impermanence and interconnectedness. Through interior monologue and the technique of split characterization and multiple consciousnesses, R.K.Singh presents the doubts and agony, sorrow and suffering of modern man.

Trapped in questions and “among the ungodly” the narrator tries to find his way from the directionless, destinationless pathways:

I want to rest now burying
ambitions and achievements
that ache the soul and make
empty sounds in the hollow
of a hallowed pond long doomed
for marrying self-indulgent
elites and idiots
sucking generations (‘Leeches’, p.69)

After its purification and purgation, the narrator’s soul feels His healing touch that gives him the courage to “…bear without regret/the burdens of the world/ loss of love, or even hope/to live like a lotus leaf.” (p.21) The desire to live like a lotus leaf is a desire to elevate the self, to attain sublimity, despite being in a morbid and decayed society.

Singh’s poems are not such poems whose meaning leap to the eye at the first reading; here is a brief extract:

I stand on the edge
of earth’s physicality
waiting on the brink (‘Eyeless Jagannath’, p.9)

In another poem we see the speaker confessing/ admitting the trauma and suffering that he undergoes to understand the self:
It doesn’t end even if I abandon desire:

non-suffering is no key to nirvana
…the itch and sensations, growing degeneration
of island existence in dimming light
life only freezes; the foul of stagnant pool-
yet the hope of lotus rises with sun. (‘Nirvana-II’, p.77)

It is, however, also true that many of the poems of R.K.Singh cannot be appreciated unless we look for the half- hidden meanings in them.

To conclude, the volume carries well painted internal scapes and ‘Sexless Solitude’ is a metaphor of going into the womb of consciousness (vijnana) in order to unravel “the mystery of the dark womb” (p.73) that stores bijas or seeds which are inborn, and result from our karmic history. It is these bijas that combine with the manas or ego-existence, and by stilling mind, store house consciousness becomes identical with tathagata, “suchnesss” or the Buddha mind that is sexless. As in the poem ‘Realisation’, the poet says:

the soul has no sex
the form, the body
and the name unreal
the cimax of eternity
denudes the mind (‘Realisation’, p.63)

And further:

within deeper recesses
undo psychic structures
…when seeking nothing
experiencing nothing-
stillness become divine (‘God’, p.33)

Sexless Solitude and Other Poems is a collection written in high serious mode that demands a serious analysis. With this volume the poet could be rated much higher than the poets of the 60s or even of the present times.


1. Singh, R.K. Voices of the Present: Critical Essays on Some Indian English Poets. Jaipur:Book Enclave, 2006, pp.261-267.
2. Bhaskar Ghose. “Tragic Irrelevance” in Frontline Vol. 26, No.3, February 13, 2009, pp.88-89.

Copyright: Rajni Singh

Published in MUSE INDIA, Issue 26, JulyAugust2009

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Dr. R.K.Singh is an established name in Indian English Poetry.He has to his credit 11 poetry collections, namely ,My Silence [1985], Memories Unmemoried[1988], Music Must Sound[1990], Flight of Phoenix[ 1990], Two Poets; R.K.Singh [ I Do Not Question ] Ujjal Singh Bahri [ The Grammar of My Life] [1994], My Silence and other Selected Poems; 1974-1994[ 1996], Above the Earth`s Green [1997], Every Stone Drop Pebble [ a haiku collection , jointly with Catherine Mair and Patricia Prime ,1999], Cover to Cover ; A collection of Poems[ jointly with Myriam Pierri and Giovanni Campisi ,2003] , and The River Returns [2006]. This is his 12th poetry collection.
Among the many collections of poems the poems of R.K.Singh attracts us by its content and style and we get a rare pleasure by reading these.In the foreword of this volume renowned Indian English Poet Prof. I.K.Sharma writes,

`` A poet of modern sensibility ,Dr. Singh has drawn inspiration from diverse literatures of the world , from the English-speaking to the non-English , such as Japan, France, Chile, Yugoslavia etc.`` [ p-1]
There are 99 pearls in the form of poems in this poetry volume.In the first poem of the volume entitled `Don`t Condemn Me`, the poet is requesting not to condemn him for the conversation of sex.
`` sins of races flowing in my blood;
I love Him through the bodies He made
But don`t understand redemption
In churning and parting of the sea
[ Don`t Condemn Me p-1]
In the next poem entitled `Barbed Wire Fence` he discusses the love making of boys and girls in the bush.

` how can I complain,
If boys and girls make love,
In the bush between
[ Barbed Wire Fence p-2]
The poet start pondering about sex when he is alone and in wintry nights but his verses are not obsene .His sweaty desiresn compel him to scribble verses when he is alone.Again and again he thinks about naked company with laughs. Such poems like `Overload, Hazy Sun, Aloof,Winter, Again and Again ` expresses the above thoughts.

`` now fail to have
What I always had,
Her naked company
With tingling laugh,
Slurred with passion
[ Again And Again p-7]
Dr. Singh doesn`t consider it bad to talk about sex in solitude and he is against to create own morals and principles to stop love making or stopping of celebrating Valentine`s day.He is against those persons who takes law in their hands to stop lovers or celeberation of Valentine`s day..In such poems as ` Group Dance, Liberation, I Hang Nobody`s Picture, Portraits We Fear To See` tell this very feeling.
`` Culture is not repression
But sublimation through expression

Why do they police
Art for lesbianism
Naked sex or blasphemy
[Portraits We Fear To See p-25]

The poet forces on open love and he don`t care of psalms to sing or going to churches.For him this is not devotion to supreme authority but this is open business.
`` I see no saviour come
To rescue me when mired
I seek freedom from myself
[ Valley of Self p-26]
The poet creates his own world of sexless solitude and he enjoys this world without any barrier.These poems entitled ` The Other Poetry,Sleeping Light ,Arriving Early,Total Image, Body; A Bliss, Creation Orgasm, Stripped And Naked etc have such thoughts.
``To create is to die,
Die to love , to time
To memory , to god
To everything we know
Do or experience
[ Creation p-32]
Dr. Singh revives the old tale of Adam, Eve and snake through such poems.as `Snake,God , Sex And The World, Erotics Of Bygones`
``Hiding or waiting
It raises its head when least
Expected, a snake
[ Snake p-61]
Dr. Singh also diverts our attention towards present day problems of peace ,human rights and terrorism in his poems like `Peace Mission,Politics Defies Silence, Human Rights,Terrrorism,
``Each day ends in fear
Of one or the other kind
Living in uncertainties
It`s life in death
[ Terrorism p-71]
The poet encourages our morals through his verses. Such poems as `On Her Birthday,Ignite Minds With Flickers, etc
``You have worlds to conquer,
And miles to go , my dear
You must rear the goose
And have the gold each day
[ On Her Birthday p-11]

He is quite realistic in such poems as `I Am No Moses and I Am No Jesus`
``I am no jesus
But I can feel the pains
Of crucification
[ I Am No Jesus p-44]

The poet creates realism and he no more want to go to God or sing Psalms .He wants to mix these feelings of love to Almighty.Like Osho`s `From Sambhog to Samadhi` , he takes us from sex to Nirvana
``The sky frightens with lightning and rain,
Raises neither fire nor quenches the earth
I`ve lost a chance to create despite ritual
End of the day and her parting with a kiss
[ Nirvana p-77]

Dr. Singh looks to me Lord Buddha or Osho and he completes his preaching in an innovative way .He is not vulgar at all.All these poems are written with good intentions and insight .He presents various forms of love in this volume as the loved, the spurned,as the winner or loser.He has created magic through his verse libre.He is sensuous compact in his verses. He has fused in this volume love, sensuality and the meaning of life. This is innovative new poetry volume, a must read for every avid reader. And lover of English literature.
Courtesy: http://poetryfirst.ning.com/forum/topics/sexless-solitude-and-other?page=1&commentId=3511464%3AComment%3A846&x=1#3511464Comment846

Friday, June 26, 2009

From Lady Nyo's blog...

« “Musings On A Closing Day”
Summer’s blooming, and the sewer is flowing…. »

Poems from Dr. RK Singh
By ladynyo

RK Singh has appeared here before and it is a joy and delight to post his poems which he has graciously allowed permission.

RK has many websites, is a prominent and distinguished poet from India and through many months of correspondence, we have struck up a friendship.

Although already a published poet of over 34 books and 162 critical reviews, RK has a great enthusiasm for new writers and I am deeply honored he reads my poetry. I find his so fresh and provocative in the best sense for a poet: reading his deeply visual poems, they propel me to write more, not to imitate, but to have courage that small poems can have the impact of those with many more words. RK’s work is so powerful to me, that clearly here, ‘less is more’.

It’s the Monsoon season in his part of India, and he is awaiting the rains. The temperatures are soaring and humanity there barely breathes, awaiting the cooling, life giving rains. A few tanka that reflect those conditions but others of a different nature. Dr. Singh is prolific to say the least. It was hard to choose only these, but like a box of Godiva chocolates, they are so rich we best go slowly. There will be many more later.

Indeed, the power of ’small’ poems.

Lady Nyo


Layers of dust thicken
on the mirror water makes
the smuts prominent:
I wipe and wipe and yet
the stains stay like sin

When I have no home
I seek refuge in the cage
of your heart and close
my eyes to see with your nipples
the tree that cared to save from sun

In the forest of your hair
my finger searches
the little pearl of blood
that stirs the hidden waters
and contains my restlessness

When I inhale in
your mouth and exhale stroking
hair or caressing
I ride you into joy and
make you hail morning like earth

Winter is caught in
waves of narrow discussions
under the blanket
fingers move by nipples erect
without sensing sinsummation

Life limits between
whence the sun rises and where
it goes to relax:
joys of a fleeting moment
I see Aditi in her eyes

Will you marry my soul?
or lend me your body?
I’ve used it to the core
the rament is tattered now
even ghosts despise it

Burning without warmth
one more hot and sweaty spell
of summer, restless
down with stroke, without light, fan
exhausted, alone in bed

Slung-jawed awake
two grinning skeletons sit
bolt upright in bed
hear the shrieks next door but
too scared to call the police

The nightly ghosts crowd
my mind’s passage to forge
gods’ names in disguise
I fail to scan the face
of thought and life in the dark

Night’s prisoned friends
keep me awake with planes
flying over the Ashram
every now and then I watch
the direction matters

A cloud-eagle
curves to the haze
in the West
skimming the sail
on soundless sea

The chill outside
deprives me of the bright moon
I breathe in my fears:
asthmatic bouts haunt and
jealousy itches the throat

RK Singh
Copyrighted, 2009

Some websites of Dr. Singh’s to read more of his poems:

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

* From RK Singh this morning…
* More Good News From Dr. RK Singh….
* RK Singh’s Poem from “Sexless Solititude and Other Poems”

Tags: critical reviews, Dr. RK Singh, Monsoon, poetry, tanka

This entry was posted on June 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Responses to “Poems from Dr. RK Singh”

1. Berowne Says:
June 24, 2009 at 12:14 am

Very evocative; I enjoyed reading them.
And a very gracious introduction, Lady N.
2. ladynyo Says:
June 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Dr. Singh’s poems are always enjoyable, even where the cultural differences might make one stumble. However, the world is wide and we are expanded when we learn more than our culture.

Thank you, Berowne.

Lady Nyo
3. R.K.SINGH Says:
June 26, 2009 at 5:01 am

Thanks Jane for your nice intro to me. I must say you have selected some very good verses.
The rains still elude this part of the country but monsoon seems to have arrived in Mumbai.
4. ladynyo Says:
June 26, 2009 at 10:06 am

Hello RK!

I am sorry the rains still elude your part of the country but it must be only a matter of time.

Your verses are evocative and provocative and I picked them for those reasons! However, it was hard to choose because they all have those designs. Like picking a favorite …impossible!

We also are dry and hot here, in the high 90s, but what can one do except hope?

My best!
5. R.K.Singh Says:
June 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Yea, we all seek our solace in hope. I would also add, faith and love. The three make the triad of Christianity.
It drizzled this afternoon for a short while and filled us with hope that the temperature will fall and we will be comfortable. I have been feeling very uneasy for the last two to three weeks. Our life is not in tune with nature and so, nature takes its toll.
I liked your selection of my tanka and it is always encouraging to read fellow poets’ comments.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Acharya Mahaprajna: THE SUN WILL RISE AGAIN. Translated by Sudhamahi Regunathan. New Delhi: Penguin/Viking, 2008, pages xiii+97. Price Rs. 250/-. ISBN 978 0 670 08251 3

Poet-philosopher monk Acharya Mahaprajna is the tenth spiritual head of the Swetambar Terapanth Jain community. He has been an eminent promoter of peace and non-violence, leading Ahimsa Yatra (2001-2009) through the length and breadth of India. Long associated with Acharya Tulsi’s Anuvrat Movement, he is also a true scholar of Jain Agamas, discoverer of Preksha Meditation, and well-versed in modern Physics, biosciences, ayurveda, western philosophy, politics, and economics. He has written more than 200 books in Hindi, Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Rajasthani languages.

Acharya Mahaprajna’s meditative verses, brief and intense, bear the stamp of his faith and consciousness. As he declares elsewhere:

“Soul is my God.
Renunciation is my prayer.
Amity is my devotion.
Self-restraint is my strength.
Non-violence is my religion.”

In keeping with the virtues of Jain monks, Acharya Mahaprajna’s short, lyrical, and at times epigrammatic and anecdotal poems in The Sun will Rise Again reflect his experiences and insight, with deeper understanding of human nature and his own characteristic straightforwardness, modesty, self-restraint, and concentrated wisdom. The poems also reinforce his religion of tolerance, righteousness and non-violence, peaceful coexistence, equanimity, and positive outlook.

Drawing on his samyak vision, the monk-poet beautifully articulates his world-view thus:

“’Someone bear the burden
Of bringing infinity to light,’
Said the lamp,
‘The burden I can take
Is to bring light to this hut.’”

In other poems, he encourages spiritual development through the pursuit of a rational view of life and living: “Those who live/a life of comfort,/Forgetting the present/Drift into the delusion of the past”, and “The one who lives in the present,/the future belongs to him.” He insists on pursuing higher goals, dreaming big, striving hard to excel the already achieved: “The world belongs to him/who has a dream in his heart”, and “The one who searches, finds his quest./His feet stumble whose goal is small” , and “Fire is that which burns./Man is he who moves.”

Acharya Mahaprajna’s poems manifest how he perceives self through the self and how he seeks to wipe away darkness, -- “Eyes closed/A lamp in my hands,/I roam” --, instead of philosophizing about truth or reality. Aware of the deep-rooted negativities (which, interestingly, his Preksha dhyan seeks to root out by harnessing body, mind and spirit), he reminds his audience to pursue dharma, the right conduct, and self-control:

“Water desires that no one restrain it
The grain desires that no one grind it
The wind desires that no one stop it
The mind desires that no one correct it,
But water gives light when restrained
The grain gives taste when ground
The wind turns electric when stopped
The mind becomes edified by bowing.”

The sage-poet understands the essential nature of mind and distils poetry from very minute observations of quotidian life and events that reveal human behavior and attitude. He partakes of deeper knowledge, perception and bliss, blending delight and wisdom, with subtle allusions from ancient Hindu scriptures, philosophies, and Jainism. In simple, everyday language, he explores and enlightens the inner self, even as he seeks peace and harmony in all, with awareness of the inner enemies that obstruct one’s spiritual progress. He makes us see that “truth is not in the dark/But hidden in the brilliance of the sun.”

Originally composed in Hindi, the Acharya’s visionary poems have been superbly translated by Sudhamahi Regunathan, who is herself well-versed in Jainism with immense experience in translation. She effectively proves that the poet’s poems have a “natural flow”. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam’s ‘Foreword’ adds to the “contributing spirit” that the world very much needs now.

Reviewed by:
--Dr. R.K. SINGH, Professor & Head, Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian School of Mines University, DHANBAD 826004.

Review published in: South Asia Mail, 07 July 2009:

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From Lady Nyo's Blog...

From RK Singh this morning…
By ladynyo

RK! You write my blog entries for me!

This is too good to be buried in the comments section, because it informs, educates….and also because I agree with it. LOL!

I post it here hoping it fires off some discussion with other poets/writers…

Thank you, RK.

Lady Nyo

Comment From RK Singh:
I agree with you. But when we write, we should be sensitive to the taste of our time rather than what we notice in the past writers. There are so many things to learn from the past, but we also need to be aware of the present. I have read several American poets of the 1960s and 1970s who wrote in free verse and used either very apt adjectives or wrote like you and I using ‘bare bones’ expression.
What I have been trying to emphasize is using minimum or very fresh adjectives and metaphors or being brief, especially in lyrical poetry. Unnecessary verbosity is distracting and boring.
Then, one also needs to develop ones own poetics. For example, I avoid using punctuation marks in poetry. I also don’t give titles to my poems.
For reasons of identification, I have hung my poems with titles, often inappropriate, while publishing on the net or on my blogs. But in my published collections, the books have titles, and not the poems. My simple reason: I hardly composed a poem with a title integral to it.
And, titles tell too much!
The readers need freedom to imagine and recreate their own meaning from the poems. This may be different from the poet’s meaning, intention or interpretation. The more meaning one can get from a poem, the better for the poem. I have often found by not using punctuation marks, I provide ‘ambiguity’ to my poem and ensure that various people like it for their own ‘way’ of reading it or for their own mood at the time of reading it! Sometimes they may also find it bad.

We have to discover our own ‘aesthesis’ which is in keeping with our nature, or what I called, sensibility. You know better what you like to read and write, and within your aesthetic frame, you try to present your poem to the readers. What I have learnt is that it is possible to write SIMPLE poems without being complex or verbose or using too many adjectives.

When I try to revise a simple poem, it becomes very challenging. After all, simplicity of a poem is something beguiling. You too might have experienced it.


Arrrggghhh! Bare Bones expression! That is something to strive for…especially in longer poems, RK. It seems to be easier in the short ones…because of the constrains we set upon ourselves in terms of words….but the longer poems need that same aesthetic. And I think there is something we use, a couple of us here….that we were ‘trained’ in on this writing group: ERWA….that has been rather helpful to us verbose folk: it’s called ‘flashers’. This is a complete story with dialogue or not, but within the confines of 100-200 words…but no more. You can pack a lot of punch….in 200 words…and they are stories, not scenes….You take a sharp knife and cut out most of the adjectives, the fat, the dross from your story. What you are left with is clean, sharp, concise. It’s a thought pattern that is refined through the fire of ‘less is more’. You have to make every word count.

I think Nick and I can say that this ‘training’ on ERWA has been the most helpful in our general writing. Applying that technique to poetry is also necessary, and possible.

However, there are other considerations as you point out. This issue of being sensitive to the taste of our times is a very complex issue. And being stuck in the past, in past tastes is also deadly.

There are other considerations, but I wax too much. Others here can answer to the above, and they are very good considerations, RK!

Thank you!

Lady Nyo

Thursday, June 11, 2009

From Lady Nyo's Weblog

June 12, 2009 by ladynyo

From ” Sexless Solitude and Other Poems”


It’s all linked but I don’t understand
or don’t want to understand because

I am too much with me and worry
about her dying libido and my

own shrinking sex amidst salsa chill
Bihu fever, Vishu rituals

ringing emptiness day and night shake
the age-wrapped youth for single-edge play

in forked flame carve image of heaven
to challenge the jealous God undo

sins of races flowing in my blood:
I love Him through the bodies He made

but they don’t understand redemption
in churning and parting of the sea

they don’t rejoice in the flames of henna
on her palms nor let the lily bloom

in the valleys use the clefts and cliffs
To deface beauty and spike voices

don’t condemn me if I am not white
The water still flows in my river

RK Singh
Copyrighted, 2009

This poem has haunted me since I first read it back in October, 2008 I believe. There are many, many religious images here, many that are alien to me, I must admit, but there are also Christian imagery, too.

It starts out with a Lament: the disappearing, (as it does with all of us) sexual drive, the aging issues that impact upon all humanity that live long enough, and but right before, it leads us into the depth of the matter:

“It’s all linked but I don’t understand
or don’t want to understand because”…..

the overriding concern, is not exactly the spiritual, the religious concerns as we would aspire to be, but the very, very human concerns of aging, disappearing sexual abilities, etc….yet it comes back around to the spiritual because—

“they don’t rejoice in the flames of henna
on her palms nor let the lily bloom

in the valleys use the clefts and cliffs
To deface beauty and spike voices”…

I am guessing here, RK, but it’s a call for tolerance, or this is how I read it….spiritual/religious tolerance in an very intolerant world.

But how beautiful the words… “the flames of henna on her palms or let the lily bloom”

There is so much culturally I don’t understand about this poem , but my soul yearns towards its imagery, the pure undiluted beauty of the poem…the mingling of cultures as I see it, ..well, this perhaps speaks volumes to a universal striving.

RK, I remember being so passionately inspired, impacted by this poem of yours, that I wrote a poor response of my own. Disgruntled with a Quaker Meeting, I took the receeding imagery, the ‘tones’ of your poem onto that bench one “First Day” and riffed upon some of your images.

Some Aberrant Thoughts

Sitting on a wooden Quaker bench,
The wood as hard as some hearts
Taking ‘pride’ in their tolerance….

Ah, I am beginning to hate that word,
That single word, because there ain’t none.
The stiff- necked brethren, and sisthern too,
Wear their spirituality like dull pearls around stiffer necks, proud in a borrowed heritage that came to do good,
And some did very well for themselves.

Sitting in silence is bearable, it’s when they speak, not the popcorn messages, that is tolerable, because it comes more from spontaneous Spirit,
but these sonorous, drawn out, perfectly enunciated vowels, the ponderousness of it all.

I wonder what the God Vishnu would do here?
Would he jump up, and burst into flame?
Would he call in the elephants to stomp the
Professors flat?

Kali could lend something to these formerly gray clothed worshipers.
She would not tolerate a false piety,
But would as she was known to do,
Run a path of death and destruction through the middle of the Meeting, and let them pick up their ‘weighty’ pieces?

And Shiva?

Would he bring a particularly nasty Rise of the Meeting, when all would shake hands to those on the left and the right?

Or would the trickster be a Yamabushi Tengu with a buzzer in his hand?

It boggles the mind, but at least gets one through the Meeting for Worship.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

LOL! Poor fare after your poem, RK, but like dominoes, your poem produced something I couldn’t resist: a resonance, a clattering of ideas and imagery that had expression, though it was just a beginning, and a rather pale attempt.

But that is ok, because we feed off each other in excitement and inspiration, that is what poets should do!

Lady Nyo….very thankful for all the participation this week…and looking forward for more.

Treading with
spring feet my grandson
now nine months


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

From Lady Nyo's Weblog

Good News!
June 9, 2009 by ladynyo

Dr. RK Singh has given me permission to post some of his poetry on my blog, and this will be the beginning of our new round of poetry contributions and comments.

I have invited some poets I really admire, most from the ERWA website I happened upon three years ago, but that has expanded. I hope to have some surprises here on the blog.

For those interested in some incredible poetry and poet, I am going to post some websites that will lead to a knowledge of Dr. Singh’s poetry.

” You may write to the publisher Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar, Bareilly 243003 India for a copy of The River Returns. You may also email them at:
Some of the tanka poems are also available on my blogs, and/or:
http://ezinearticles.com/?The-River-Returns—A-Collection-of-Tanka-poems&id=538863 “
Very Good News, Indeed!

Lady Nyo….with a poem of my own this morning.

Plum Blossom Snow

The present snowstorm of
White plum blossoms
Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks
Like perfumed, satin tears,
Too warm with the promise of life
To chill flesh.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

Tags: Dr. RK Singh, India, more poets coming.., Poet, tanka, websites to find Dr. Singh's poetry
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Dr. RK Singh is a Poet to Love.
June 9, 2009 by ladynyo

Sometime last fall I received a comment on this blog about my poetry.

I was surprised because my poetry is not of a long duration, only having written various forms for the last 3 years. I received excellent tutelage from Gary Russell on ERWA (Erotica Readers and Writers Association), who is the Poetry Expert there. Gary, from his base in England, put us through our paces on sonnets, cinquains, chokas, haiku, tanka and other poetry forms. Some of us there took to it like starving dogs. We wrestled with the different forms, compounding our mistakes and errors, stretching the ‘rules’ but overall…..learning at a fast clip.

One writer who became a heart friend, Nick Nicholson in Canberra, AU, pushed us both for those years into more and more exploration. I was more timid about forms, he though, ended up coloring outside the lines. I got braver from his example. Soon we were writing mirror cinquains, ghazels, sonnets (the hated sonnets actually…we struggled over those a lot…) and tons of haiku and tanka. Especially tanka. I was privately known as “Tanka Teela” amongst certain friends.

But I am going far afield. I was contacted by Dr. RK Singh, a noted poet and author in India. He happened upon my blog (how do these things work??) and left me some encouraging comments. We have become friends, and I have been reading Dr. Singh’s recently published work: “Sexless Solititude and Other Poems”, and am looking for his newest work: “The River Returns” . (RK, if you read this….give me a hint where to find it, please.)

I came upon a review of Dr. Singh’s work tonight. Very good glimpse of this author’s amazing body of work (11 volumes I believe) and many, many critical reviews.


They are awaiting the monsoons to cool things off right now, and Dr. Singh and I send poems back and forth. Today he wrote me something in an email I will dare to post here, because I find Dr. Singh has so much beautiful sense and sensibility about poetry.

” There is no end to improving ones poems. One can write and rewrite. In fact writing means rewriting, be it prose or poetry.
But what you sent me to read was good and I enjoyed it. What is important is your innate sense of rhythm with thought. “

Oh, dear Dr. Singh. My innate sense of rhythm is only developing. It falters a lot. Right now it’s become more of an issue because it’s become evident in my poetry: this beguiling issue of rhythm, not just a cobbling of imaginative and descriptive words. It’s become very much an integral part of the work at hand. It certainly is a challenge because in freeverse, which I will post a piece at the end of this entry, I see how it completes the work. Reading it aloud helps, but there is more than just that. There is a question of syncopation, repeats, other more ‘musical’ things I am finding. Perhaps the safety of tanka form has been a security blanket I am beginning to venture away from.

But! I certainly agree and support his words on “There is no end to improving ones poems!”

I think we can become too in love with our words. We hold on to them like they are babies falling over a rail, or about to leave the planet, but they don’t, do they. Some times they look ‘good’ right out of the box (mind…end of the pen) but after awhile, perhaps when we are less invested in them or the poem, we can go back and ‘improve’.

I published a book this Winter: “A Seasoning of Lust”. A LOT of poetry, tanka, freeverse, haiku, sonnets I think….and now I wish I had a chance to rework many of them.

I do! I am going to publish another book, only poetry this time, and very little of it erotica. I woke up this morning knowing the title: “White Cranes of Heaven”. I haven’t a clue why that title, but it’s something tanka- like because the first line is 5 syllables. I’m feeling on comfortable ground….

Every new (and old) poet needs a Dr. RK Singh in their life. Not just for the lovely encouraging comments by this generous man, but to see how a mature and amazing poet handles it all. I would rather read Dr. Singh’s work than my own. Many times over.

Lady Nyo

(this is the poem I sent to Dr. Singh. I wrote it two years ago, and find that the best part of this poem is the change to rewrite. It gets fuller and some of the rhythm begins to develop, but there is still a lot of issues and the words…they seem rather ‘thin’ in the last stanza. But there is always next year. Like cheese, with age it will improve.)


She walked right by me, the Queen of Sheba

black skin glinting like steel in the sun,

proud breasts topped with prouder nipples

pointing east to west, jutting dark rubies,

her turbaned head hitting the North Star

her jeweled feet skimming the South Pole.

All space between

guarded by curved fangs,

dangerous territory, alien ground.

Tattooed ribbons flowed down arms

black snakes with sensuous intent,

the sun shone on gold- tipped teeth

beacons between her dark, stained lips,

showing rarely a smile, more of a sneer.

Black-kohl eyes flashing disdain,

measuring her vast urban jungle

from the cracked sidewalks littered

with broken shards of broken lives,

to the burnt out neon signs of closed pool halls.

I offered the most honeyed of fruits,

the celestial music of spinning spheres

the jewels of exploding stars

captured in baskets for her fondling,

brought down to earth to surround with

their undeniable glory-

an aura of delight, honor, cosmic majesty.

Ah! Cruel Queen of Sheba

she walked right by me,

no glance in my direction.

She had other fish to fry

though I promised her the wealth

of Solomon.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

Tags: poetry, "A Seasoning of Lust", tanka, erwa, India, "Sexless Solititude and other Poems, Dr. RK Singh, Gary Russell, freeverse