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Chandramoni Narayanaswamy’s review of Winged Reason

Winged Reason by K V Dominic,

Publisher Authorspress, E-35/103, Jawhar Park,

Laxmi Nagar, Delhi – 110 092, Price – Rs.95/-. 2010.

A Review by Chandramoni Narayanswamy

 

 

“Winged Reason” the title prima face is enigmatic. It is fancy which takes wings and aspires to take a flight to unexplored heights. But reason is earth bound. That it need not always be so and reason too can sprout wings when deeply and hauntingly moved is the message which the title conveys and we realise it after reading the poems.

This is Dominic’s first collection of poems. Having spent years selecting poems for publication in the IJPCL as editor, he has made a late start in life as a poet at the age of forty eight. Two tragic events in quick succession-the death of a dearly loved colleague and a ‘lovable’ politician-roused and made the muse in him to sing and launched him on his career as a poet. Thus the first poem in the anthology “In Memoriam : George Joson” is an elegy dedicated to this colleague followed by “Long Live E. K. Nayanar” a homage to a Chief Minister who had endeared himself to the masses. There are two more poems inspired by bereavements; “Kaumudi Teacher is No More” and “Michael Jackson, King of Kings”; Kaumudi, a humble Hindi teacher, social worker and disciple of Gandhi, gave up jewels and finery inspired by him but was the “rarest gem” when she died at the age of ninety-two while Jackson who was the king of music and dance left this world only to sing and dance with the angels. Thus for the poet death brings sorrow but not despair.

Dominic has a keen and highly sensitive social conscience. Inequalities, corruption, terrorism, the plight of old people languishing in neglect, the silent suffering of animals and city, village contrast, all penetrate his heart and stir the muse in him. To quote some illustrations in “A Nightmare” an obese boy is coerced to eat more while a starving child is crying for food; in the same city one leaking tap is flooding the road and a waterless tap is mocking the poets placed before it; in a posh mansion we see an old couple sitting forlornly near the phone waiting for a call from their children abroad and in a hut in the nearby slum three generations are sleeping in the same room and so on.

In “A Blissful Voyage” the poet gives vent to his anger against terrorism.

“I wish I were a bullet and shoot into the chest of that terrorist who compels that teenage boy to explode and kill that innocent mob”

In “Anands Lot” he has vividly projected another social meance – a happy school going kid abducted and forced into begging by the thugs who run a racket with impunity-the racket of beggars. “Gayatri’s Solitude” depicts another growing social menace loveless affluence, an old lady with wealthy children living in an air-conditioned old age home pathetically longing for their calls. They pay for her comforts but cannot spare a little time of a little love for her.

Dominic is an apostle of ahimsa and that has made him a tender – hearted animal lover and a strict vegetarian. Poems like “A Sheep’s Wail”, “My Teenage Hobby”, “Ammini’s Lament” and “Ammini’s Demise” are the most touching in the collection. The unspoken feelings of the dumb, are poignantly captured in the following lines.

“The fur God gave me

mercilessly you shear

to make you cosy.

 

The milk for my lambs

you suck and drain

and grow fat and cruel

 

I have seen with my eyes

and heard with my ears

the last cries of my parents

 

When they became old

you cut their heads

and ate their flesh”

Even as an adolescent, deep down in his heart was the fountain of ahisma which made him renounce his teenage hobby of angling when he saw the fish he had hooked struggling on the line. This tenderness of heart persisted all through his life and he keenly repented selling the kittens of his pet cat Ammini though it made him the laughing stock of his guests. Her laments for her kittens and her dying wails when she was poisoned by a friend, haunted him for days. The poems haunt the reader too.

Gandhi had said “Nature has enough to meet mans need but not his greed”. Dominic echoes the same truth in “Haves and Have Notes” when he writes

“Abundant Nature

feeds plants and animals

Greedy selfish man disrupts

Mother Natures feeding”

Dominic is a nature poet too. Poems like “I am Just A Mango Tree”, “Cuckoo Singing”, “Natures Bounties”, “Sleepless Nights” are nature poems. He has a special kinship with the cuckoo.

The handicapped, courageous achievers despite their handicap, stir him deeply. Helen, the blind student in his class, and Vrinda, the cripple dancing in a TV show are unforgettable characters.

In the preface the poet says that he gives priority to the content of a poem rather than to its style. This has made his poems refreshingly free from the bane of contrived rhymes. The profundity of the theme of each poem is matched only by the clarity and simplicity of its style. This slim collection of thirty-nine poems holds the reader spell-bound to the very last and will be treasured by every lover of poetry.