An eclectic and delectable poetic feast

An eclectic and delectable poetic feast
Highlights

A baby tender and cute| Just came out| Into the world” – these lines in a different context from his opening poem ‘The Mystery of Beauty’ can aptly be applied to announce the birth of Ripples and Reflections – the maiden melange of muse by Dr Venugopala Rao Kaki. Like a baby, this sleek volume of 53 poems in as many leaves is cute, bright and adorable. 

A baby tender and cute| Just came out| Into the world” – these lines in a different context from his opening poem ‘The Mystery of Beauty’ can aptly be applied to announce the birth of Ripples and Reflections – the maiden melange of muse by Dr Venugopala Rao Kaki. Like a baby, this sleek volume of 53 poems in as many leaves is cute, bright and adorable.

From the mundane to the metaphysical, from levity to gravity, from angst to optimism here is poetry both narrative and reflective, causing scintillating ripples in the hearts of poetry lovers and as well as general readers

A prolific poet, Venu catches every ripple in life – fascination for nature, passion for the nation, love for pure and inspiring love, angst for the suffering, indignation against ills and evils, aesthetics of poetry, quest for the cosmic and spiritual – and reflects them all in his book.

In a babel of cryptic and elusive poetic voices that seems to be the order of the day, Venu’s pellucid and lilting poesy soothes us like a gentle breeze. And as the breeze reminds us of the vitality of monsoon that our country looks for with its parched tongue, the poet has us‘Hail the Monsoon’ and regales us with a kaleidoscope of beautiful images – ‘The royal guest| From the celestial words…| Pearly globules| Of rain descending| Like showers| Of blessings.’

And when the scalding summers entwined with power outages especially in the nights fume at us, everyone is naturally vexed, but our poet coolly tiptoes up onto his housetop and gets stimulated by the nightly sight to commandeer his creative power to produce a rich and effusive imagery – ‘Above my head| Spreads the arched sky| With innumerable stars| Peeping down…| A celestial phenomenon,| Unique indeed| Looks like a vast Sieve| With countless luminous holes’(The Celestial Sieve).

A teacher by being like a sage holds a venerable place in our tradition, and here are the essential attributes of ‘The Best Teacher’ according to Venu, an ex-English lecturer himself: ‘A sage| Slogs untiringly| To dispel the darkness| Of ignorance| The best teacher,| The modest| And the humblest.’

And who can be a better and more ideal teacher than Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the people’s President who, by the way, appreciated the poem ‘The Angel Dreaming of Glorious India’ penned on him by Venugopal? And when the sage-like Kalam passed away,

Venu came up with a befitting homage through his poem “Our Most Beloved Kalamji” wherein he hopes that the Indian youth would continue to be inspired by ‘his noble spirit…| To fulfil| His great dream| And noble Mission| For Mother India.’

Like a true poet, Venu views things right from the immediate and mundane to the higher cosmic and spiritual, and his pantheism is revealed through poems like ‘God Reveals Himself.’

The Indian ethos of reverent gratitude to the elements of nature culminates in his ode to the Sun but for whom we and the life on earth would not have existed. In this poem of exquisite pulchritude conjured by intense poetic afflatus, he sees paramatma (over-soul) in the Sun, and jeevatma (soul) in his each ray (‘Paramatma and Jeevatma’).

‘What is a Poem?’ Poetry means different things to different poets, critics, and readers. And Venu sets out to answer the eponymous question himself. In addition to being a crystallised image in a streaming and metaphorical language, it is – ‘… a vision|Captured|In a prism|Of illumination|For enlightenment|Of life, mundane|And celestial|And glorification|Of the world.’ And he sticks to his testament.

Humour is also a part of Venu’s poetic scheme. We savour the gentle humour that seeps through ‘The File in Office’ dealing with the proverbial and probably ineradicable venality in offices and the putatively vain promises of the politicians: ‘Weight on paper| Keeps paper| Stay well – that’s the truth| Of science established,| Undeniable,| Weight on file| In our offices| Gives file a momentum,| Then only, strangely,| File moves on| To its destination| And fulfilment.’

To sum up, Ripples and Reflections irradiates with a gurgling flow, lyrical grace, verbal melody and salubrious spirit transporting one onto the Mount of Parnassus – a la the poetry of masters likeWordsmith, Shelley, Keats and Tennyson, and with a welcome Indian flavour to boot.

By:U Atreya Sarma

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