Donald T Nigli [email@example.com] poetry review
Above all, Murali’s poems are soothing and pleasing. They do not disturb, but as one closes the book the poems leave with a valediction to the human heart and a profound feeling of nostalgia as if something precious has been laid aside.
Sing he does, for this collection will not fail to impress upon you its lyricism and the poet’s many black and white sketches of trees and birds ‘amidst’ the pages and as they appear in lower-case names throughout the book. If you’re not critiquing and skimming just for simple pleasures of poetry…
EARTH SIGNS Poems by Murali Sivaramkrishnan, Pondicherry: The Creative People, 2006. Rs.60.
Tucked away in one corner of south India, in a sprawling 800 acre 8000 treed 80 bird-specied Pondicherry University sings Murali Sivaramakrishnan the poet of Earth Signs teasing you with poem after poem of rustic images of an earth dear to us all and of birds and trees we cannot but love in this Wordsworthian Lake Country campus.
Sing he does, for this collection will not fail to impress upon you its lyricism and the poet’s many black and white sketches of trees and birds ‘amidst’ the pages and as they appear in lower-case names throughout the book. If you’re not critiquing and skimming just for simple pleasures of poetry, you might open page 3:
“I draw my dreams up tightly / around me every night / and make a soft cocoon of kingly wisdom / In plain black and white I loll / No day light enters through its thick / comfort; no bird drones its sorrow / nor delight – I am alright alone / in my empire surfeit, successful, content / on a perpetual knight errand on camel back.
He walks his images and metaphors as he would his favourite dogs without leashes, in good control as they move here and there with a few of his disapproving titches – while they enjoyed themselves within his watchful art’s wide arc.
“This evening / the river is not wide enough / to hold back the shadow / of the tree / as it spreads… The saplings had learned / it from the hugging the earth closer /and closer night and day… Let the evening / stretch the tree and shade, and the river / trickle down to its last drop / the earth is thirstier than ever” from ‘Clear Logic of Reason’.
Along with the fine touch & feel of the off-white acid-free paper, I counted 15 poems and impressive lines on every page that I liked, but here are two short pieces I could not resist quoting entirely, “A lone crow, they say / you see the first thing at dawn / brings you ill luck / I should ask the crow / what it thinks about this / seeing a lone me the first thing at dawn.” It is thought-provoking mischief in his ‘Ramblings’ but you know that if you are naturalist how else but from a crow’s point of view you must see. And here’s one that’s more Protestant in its titillation, “Give to God / what you value most / yourself / if only God will take it”
Murali seems to have, with the single-mindedness of a barber (or a physician of yore), sat through a whole day stropping his razor on the leather strap to finally sit and slice slivers of these words in ‘The Ghost in the Room’
“Now I see the / face aghast at the human sight, like / broken glass-bits in the mid-day sun / up-bearing the abrupt light. Why don’t/ some owls hoot ad dogs howl to suffer / me to falter and fumble in fake distress / and let my guest out through the open window?”
How many lines of worth must one quote to say these are of quality and repute, since there is enough of them and then more and more? Yet there are instances of wordplay like an American story giving you a slice of life but going nowhere, but by and large this is the poetry of a content man, his gripe if any probably swept up in to his professorial dialogues, his intent caught-up in the out-of-the-box ideas at enervating his young students. There are crisp images and canny metaphors but you find it hard pressed to find the hungry poet, and his anger probably weaned away by his years of contriving his wards in to appreciating the Masters and Bards with the ever encroaching and bountifully rewarding soft-ware languages sniping at their heels.
There are the traditional (internal) rhyme, alliteration and assonance… so easily strewn and hidden, so too repetition, caught in the free-flow of a poet in the natural rhythm and earthly elements. Above all, Murali’s poems are soothing and pleasing. They do not disturb, but as one closes the book the poems leave with a valediction to the human heart and a profound feeling of nostalgia as if something precious has been laid aside. firstname.lastname@example.org