Reading Keki Daruwalla’s poetry collection titled–Collected Poems, 1970-2005.
Reading because reading a poetry book is never a complete process, it is a rendezvous that feels like a dejavu and promises a repeat mojo only when you are in the mood for it. Otherwise, it just lies there collecting dust on its covers and sulking. So reading, not read.
A few poems stand out, as they do, highlighting the trends of the times stamped already in history and mailed to us through these broken lines akin to a bird with broken wings warning that your muse has been kidnapped, go fetch her/him before they consume its essence. Or just fly to your muse and leave it all behind. Sometimes, I felt that the poet kept it sounding like prose as if to communicate with any dull-head reader who doesn’t get the pathos and urgency of broken lines broken at places not so obvious. Apart from that, the collection is a vista of information, some received, some urging to be explored.
A City Falls
A student had died here, in the middle ages
Who killed him, black magic or the black death?
If you walked over his grave, you roamed
the city, lost, the legend said.
Was it any use, this mass tantrum of defiance,
this flicker of a spirit reaching for the stars?
Do fires still burn today
under those vast , black collieries of the heart?
Note:History has no place and time, it would seem, from this poem. Why, I see this question echoing in my own backyard civilization!
For my heart aspires to beat with nature, I loved the poem “The Last Whale”
When the last whale moves into our Lord’s keeping
the wake abuzz with flies and a procession
of gulls as there never was before–
and the seas turn the colour of red wine
they’ll wonder if this is omen or miracle.
Neither! Just the gashed side of a harpooned whale.
The sea-god, his eyes red with salt-burn
his beard turned to coral, extends his palm
to ask what’s in store for him.
As many stars as there were before
to brood over tides and chart the course of ships;
the same number of icebergs, more or less;
more oil slicks certainly and tanker fleets,
more aircraft-carriers and submarines. No whales.
Note: Who cares? No whales. But who cares? Ahoy! Onward Humanity. Me included–Only read, write, print nature.
The collection is vast and my attention span momentary, compared to its timeless treasure of knowledge. However, the poetics is a wee bit short on rhythm component which is my personal comfort groove in reading poetry. So, not groovy kind of poems, yet birds with broken wings that make me want to fly and leave it all behind.