“…….Country which flourished in lush forests
pure rivers, virgin fields,
has been ravaged to the point of extinction
all of us have remained mute spectators
to the mutilation, barbaric actions perpetrated
by the pernicious power brokers.
Soul of my country asks us all
Have you not raped me enough?….”
Crossroads is a collection of poems by Hardaman Singh, who is a Psychiatrist by profession but a poet at heart. The book is published by Author’s Empire and the cover design and illustrations have been done by Sudhir Pillai.
A collection of poems is hard to review for the simple fact that it captures the poet’s mindscape in a greater canvas than a single poem. It is like going to an art gallery and being dazzled by all the art displayed around, one simply does not know where to begin and where to end. I am giving my best shot to read, understand and review the collection as much as I can.
Around forty odd poems have been featured in this collection which reflects the poet’s humane side. Almost all his poems are in form of a lament against the loss of humanity we see every day in front of our eyes. The poems are hard hitting, cruel, real facts of life, Singh does not romanticise about the human pain, he does not give agony the form of glory, rather he forces the reader to take off the glasses of idealism and think about how real it all is.
Singh puts in a very different flavour of poetry in every single one of them. The language used is lucid and simple, there are no fixed rhyme schemes, and most of his poems are written in free verse. When a poet writes in free verse it gives him a kind of independence, a kind of freedom to explore areas which otherwise would have been difficult if he had to follow the grammar of poetry meticulously. Singh does well in that area, his use of topics are commendable ranging from one’s own dark past to problems in our society. It makes the reader wonder how does he draw up such scenario’s with perfection, is it just simple observation or is it the experiences of the poet himself! There is one down side to the book which is the illustrations. To be honest the illustrations are pretty good, but sometimes strong illustrations can take away the readers’ focus from the work of the poet towards the artist who did the illustrations.
My advice to the poet will be if you are to use illustrations in the future please use a more subtle form, so that it does not take away focus from the poems. Your poems are good on their own and paint their own picture very well, and possibly don’t need the aide of the illustrations added. By saying this I am in no way demeaning the artist’s work who did the illustrations, but merely pointing out the fact what happens when two equally good pieces of art are put up against each other they tend to fight for their own position, thus stealing the focus from one another, which is confusing for the reader.
My personal favourites are Flower, Story of a Well, Solitude and The Dawn.
Crossroads is an excellent collection of poems and I wish the poet well, and wish him luck in his future endeavours. It will be wonderful to read more of his work.
Story of a Well
“…….Surrounded by blood curdling shouts
humans had taken beastly forms
with steely resolve and prayer on lips
ninety children, women young and aged
leaped into the depths of
Thus was written
the most gruesome human history,
the distraught well
whose water had given them life
had turned into their watery grave
the poor well a mute spectator
to resonate to the sounds of hell.”