Tag Archives: p c k prem

Solitude and other poems by Rajender Krishan

solitudePaperback: 164 pages

Publisher: Cyberwit.net (July 5, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8182534143

ISBN-13: 978-8182534148

 

            Review by P C K Prem                                

A journey into the ‘inner world’ works as a tranquilizer to a disturbed man the poet avers. Rajender Krishan, a product of Delhi University, a marketing professional since 1968, solemnized inter-religious marriage and is now, settled in New York, USA.    Before migrating to USA in 1989, he worked in poultry farming, advertising, and eventually entered sales and marketing.  Since 1989, he is engaged in work relating to antique reproductions and consultancy in Real Estate. Settled in USA, an admirer of Kabir, a great Hindu mystic, he believes in the freedom of expression.   Poetry, photography and visual art are passions. Unpredictable destiny of man and society, and its predicament worries him. He inspires writers through famous website Boloji.com, a notable endeavour.

A maiden poetic venture ‘Solitude and other poems’ a collection of more than fifty poems, he communicates experiences with intensity, notices every incident, watches man’s movements closely and gives aesthetically pithy and perceptive lyrical treatment.  RK’s curiosity in mysticism and philosophy amazes as he looks beyond worldly limits. Understanding of mysterious power determines human life and destiny he believes in a straight and forthright manner.

He believes in the indestructible inner self –soul/ Atma and realizes that ‘the ethereal/apparently caged/ behind the skin’ is eternally free.  A thought of oneness with the world grants freedom when one abandons incarcerated existence. Eagerness to probe the mystery of life continues even in routine acts, ‘That’s why /on a chosen path the lines on the soles/keep treading and digging /the labyrinth of life /-Maya-/in quest of Nirvana (salvation) 12  Wholesomeness in acts grants freedom minus sufferings.

              Inner self is a mirror giving true image of the central man and reflects individual interior and exterior, ‘with a motley/ of pretenses and beliefs/ wearing different hats… cannot conceal /reality from /the mirror’s revelation (Mirror 42) The nature in fury, thoughtfully offers glimpses world’s origin and the ultimate end.  The principle of creation and devastation with inkling of lethal inundation in ‘Deluge’ as if sage Markandeya witnessing the spectacle of devastation is quite apparent. Anarchic life after the great creation, preservation and the ultimate dissolution is the eternal divine plan of the Lord a man should understand. Deluge’ and ‘Realization’ 14 unfold a cosmic plan.  Solitude is transitory and ethereal but saves a man from a distressing existence and he says –

.

…cannot let go

this singularity of life

where I experience

the essence of freedom…

of you perpetual presence. 4

.

             Invisible power is the fountainhead of energy outside worldly subjugation without dogmas and thus, anarchic living no longer disturbs, as identity is integral.      Unhealthy, sordid and detrimental living conditions make peace illusive.

Without ever thinking salvation beyond bondages, a man lives within the limits of self-dictated rules of life. What a tragedy and contradiction!  Despite chaotic living conditions, man can live a better life if he understands the message of nature.

****

If a man comprehends ‘self’, he knows God’s (divine) plan. Living in silent areas of existence, bestows serenity.  He is conscious of life’s rationale and transience but forgets the eternal truth of life and death.  Past does not enlighten but distracts growth.   A wanderer’s life infuses meaning, for it is away from the feelings of ‘dead yesterday’ and ‘unknown tomorrow’ and tries to ‘Look beyond /the dichotomy of life.’ 40

A man should comprehend the celestial design and utilize inherent energies realistically without gridlock. Nature reveals ancient wisdom.   Man must understand the intrinsic energies, listen to inner voice, know the ambiguity of inscrutable existence, choose the right path, pursue a principled life, live in harmony and it will lead to a wisdom phenomenon and so he tells,’…awaken and arise/ Listen to your inner voice.’ To know self –who am I, ‘A naked Self /clothed by masks /of thoughts, relationships /…the dual of opposite/what really I am?’ 27 is an eternal question and a journey perturbing a man and answer leads to freedom ushering in renaissance.

Cleanliness, truth, dignity, right attitude bereft of hate and greed give purpose if a man follows teachings of virtuous saints like Buddha, Christ and Kabira, and wise people.  A man goes beyond confusion of ‘this or that’ with the power of ‘self preserving silent prayer’ as quietness of the imploring words soothes, creates understanding and infuses resolution and faith.

****

Knowledge of social realities and system grants identity and existence to man and he moves towards a collectively predestined objective.   Questions on destiny and life, creation, annihilation appear disquieting and efforts to get out of ephemeral joys and sorrows fail, for man’s choice is incorrect.   Man suffers from ‘great insecurity, permanent crisis and the absence of any kind of status quo’ says M. Sturmer, ‘We do not know where we are going. We only know that history has brought us to this point…if humanity is to have a recognizable future, it cannot be by prolonging the past or the present. If we try to build the third millennium on that basis, we shall fail. And the price of failure, that is to say, the alternative to a changed society, is darkness.” (Age of Extremes 585, London: Abacus, 2002)

The poet shows awareness of the social deadlock where man has uncertain joys and sufferings abundant. Embedded in the eternal plan, hunger, material hunger and greed are born of desires unlimited but the man fails to satisfy the inner man.

.

Hunger departs
with the sensory cessation
the Sovereign
leaves the corpse
moves into a new abode

.

Hunger is the cause of human activities, joys and sufferings insatiable, for the mortal frame does not recognize satisfaction. It refuses to accept truth of hunger and the singularity leads to sufferings where conflicts govern.  The poet is disturbed at the multifaceted hunger a man nurses, for it is the origin of unethical life and living rejecting a virtuous and principled life.  Mother earth is immaculate in its movement, and moves in a fixed free pattern but man refuses to recognize the phenomenal truth of freedom and loves to work under restrictions. He loves living in ‘society/hoodwinked/ and disillusioned’ discarding ‘universal freedom’. 94

Man philosophizes on life but fails to restrain feelings and thoughts, prefers ubiquitous, disgusting and appalling social system. Russell said long back, ‘The modern-minded man, although he believes profoundly in the wisdom of his period, must be presumed to be very modest about his personal powers. His highest hope is to think first what is about to be thought, to say what is about to be said and to feel what is about to be felt; he has no wish to think better thoughts than his neighbours…’ (In Unpopular Essays 66 London: Unwin Books, 1968)

****

‘Politics’ enters human relations and hurts warmth, gives birth to distrust and lies. Politics and lies in relations sow seeds of dishonesty. A modern man manipulates relations and consequently, it results in hatred, loss of confidence and faith. Relationships also suffer in an appalling and rash materialistic contemporary structure and credo of earning and amassing.  A tragic and biting ‘Irony’ it is where parents are apathetic.  Parents are the elders who should guide and teach youngsters the art of life or else –

.

…parental neglect

Mutates the toddler

Into a disgruntled person

Discarded to live a life

Stuck in the grooves of

Coercive and manipulative societies 102

.

A lackadaisical attitude of parents destroys children’s future.  Elders must offer quality life to children.  He feels upset, for the American society has little hopes to offer to future children. Apathy of parents and American society shocks bringing psychosomatic disorder in the children.

.

… dead children

Leave behind

Devastated parents; grieving

How to console them?

The surviving children

Still in their formative years

Are they doomed to swallow

the venom of traumatic afflictions? 112

.

A deplorable and perilous living pattern is also entering Indian society, and he   cautions against the lethal ambush.

Questions of life and death perturb, and the poet falls into metaphysical ponderings. The self-righteous thought of merger of ‘self’ and ‘the inner self’, the image of the Supreme Lord assures as he finds deliverance and harmony in solitude, and discovers fresh meaning. He is sincere and frank, and anxieties about existence seem strongly genuine. In an unobtrusive way, he establishes a mute relationship with every lover of verses, and it speaks of bona fide elegiac power and still stays away from moralistic perspectives.

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You can check out the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Solitude-Rajender-Krishan/dp/8182534143

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pckAn author of more than forty-five books in English and Hindi, P C K Prem (p c katoch) a post-graduated in English literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh   has brought out nine volumes of poetry besides books on criticism in Hindi and English.  Katoch Prem is a poet, novelist, short story writer and critic in English from Himachal Pradesh, India

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry in the news….

newspaper-reporter-typewriter.

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Poetry Everywhere, and They Mean Everywhere, in Miami Festival

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/poetry-everywhere-and-they-mean-everywhere-in-miami-festival/?_r=0

“Read This Poem” project to usher in National Poetry Month

http://blog.sfgate.com/bookmarks/2015/03/30/read-this-poem-project-to-usher-in-national-poetry-month/

Spoken poetry movement at Penn State

http://www.collegian.psu.edu/arts_and_entertainment/spotlight/article_225d78ce-d744-11e4-a2f3-2b6fde9d5481.html

2015 Poetry Month: An Interview With T. R. Hummer

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-hobratsch/2015-poetry-month-an-interview-with-t-r-hummer_b_6965884.html

Celebration of Life’s Experiences

http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=48576

‘The Tijuana Book of the Dead’ is a poetry collection worthy of acclaim, author recognition

http://www.dailycal.org/2015/03/30/the-tijuana-book-of-the-dead-is-a-poetry-collection-worthy-of-acclaim-author-recognition/

A rallying cry for poetry

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/29/a-rallying-cry-for-poetry/

Rhyme and reason: What’s a poetry museum doing in rural Oklahoma?

http://www.tulsaworld.com/scene/features/rhyme-and-reason-what-s-a-poetry-museum-doing-in/article_75aa854a-b81e-5f2b-9a8f-ea590684e78f.html

‘Poetry saved my life’ Professor Tamara Oakman talks about poetry, healing and the teacher who inspired her

http://www.thereporteronline.com/social-affairs/20150329/poetry-saved-my-life-professor-tamara-oakman-talks-about-poetry-healing-and-the-teacher-who-inspired-her

 

HOUR OF ANTIPATH Y by Dr D C Chambial

cover Hour of AntipathyPoetcrit Publications, September 2014

Maranada -176 102,

Himachal, India

ISBN; 978 -81 -87656 -07 -4

Review by P C K Prem  

C. Chambial, the most prominent voices in Indian English Poetry is genuine, innovative and powerful.  With nine powerful collections of poetry, he also edits Poetcrit, a journal devoted to poetry. His latest collection of verses, Hour of Antipathy signals a potent return of a poet of images and philosophic thoughts after a gap of two years, and offers moments of stimulating pleasure and fulfillment. Chambial’s poetry has subtle surge and warmth, and its pithiness and nimbleness in flow of images with rainbow like haziness and beauty amidst silent grey clouds stuns and mystifies. Love of man and humanity is a subject very dear to the heart of poet. Whenever, he feels upset with the wayward conduct of men, he forgets identity in the lap of nature. He loves its swift breeze, icy chillness, snow-clad mountains and tall deodar and pine trees. Just imagine when he asks mouse to keep quiet, he takes out a pen, scribbles a few lines, twists lips, smoothens wrinkles of a seemingly matured face and ushers out, climbs down and goes to the little garden and talks to plants. If nothing else happens, he shuffles pages of many books nonchalantly and sits quietly to start anew.

It gives a strong kick to understand the beauty of Chambial’s latest tiny verses. Not a poet of long lyrics, he does believe in legendary romances, or romance with nature like Wordsworth, Keats or Shelley but loves to create images and interprets life. He infuses a sense of serenity when one imagines a little hut like temple with a red piece of cloth tied to a bamboo on a hilltop.

In a vaguely different refrain, the poet celebrates beauty, charm and magic of nature in rhythmical flowing tuneful lines –

Soft breeze pregnant with heavenly fragrance,

The yellow fields spread to horizon for…

Summer comes tickling with its heat and drought,

Winter sits deep on senses; chill and snow

Spring many a hope in heart with spring’s glow

 (The Sun 45-46)

If nature is unsympathetic, it also proves beneficial to humankind, for it has lessons to teach. If nature is blissful, forgiving, generous and benevolent, compassionate and life giving, again it conveys a message of goodwill and tolerance, humanism and harmony. Without wanting, a seeker gets divine blessings and the poet is quite positive and optimistic. An allegory startles as he tells the tale of a mad man, who shouted, ran hurriedly, entered the little hut like temple, and after bowing before the statue, sat quietly and after moments in deep silence, emerged as a real human being. Ironically, he tells that a man engaged in routine affairs rarely behaves like a human being.  Images of hilltop and a man running to find solace, speak of the eternal cravings for peace and harmony even if no god exists.

Nature’s fury presents a grand sight. Rising smoke astonishes people watching intently the splendorous nature. Heavy rains turn into a huge bang.  An earthquake causes another stunning manifestation, and a breathtaking canyon takes birth. Man is helpless before the marvelous charisma nature performs.  ‘An Escapade’ is a painting in words where the spirit of youthfulness and vivacity, careless courage and scary guts determine the movement of young minds. In ‘Wingless’ and ‘Beauties of this World’, the poet again takes us to the charm and magic of nature –

Sit, meditate upon

this LILA in awful wonder

 as ‘Sweet songs

stir the chords

of heart and mind.           

Poet loves to enjoy a few moments in the garden. ‘Soft’ is meaningful. If the soil is soft, plants grow and roots go deep, a natural phenomenon. Soft voice and words make deep impression –

Soft is what one need:

Soft sentiments, soft moments…

To avoid hurts and bruises

For copious growth

Of stout relations and roots. 

(Radishes and Turnips 15)

A wholesome outlook towards life and its complexities stuns. Life is simple why make it complicated the poet says after immense experimenting with impassive and astounding images. In nature, he enjoys glimpses of eternity: ‘Full of fun/I longed /For shower…Sun and shower /In chase since /Eternity.’ (Chase 17)

Man is often a harbinger of disturbance and panic within and without. Strange and calculated acts of man instill fears even in birds. ‘Where is gone the Song’ 14 is a sad lyric as nature faces the onslaught of modern culture of innate yearning. Poet feels loss of sanctity and godly smile of cowherds and shepherds. Feelings of love and warmth appear frozen, and nature is hurt. Such a mental state indicates impending dreariness as warmth evaporates like ‘Water in tea-pan.’

Everything looks indistinct. Even in unqualified fright, people enjoy an ostensibly little victory as tricksters and swindlers drive away the fruit of truth and honesty in a web of bewilderment and ambiguity (Panic 19).  He speaks of vague fears while treading quite familiar paths and roads, nevertheless feelings of presence of a hidden enemy and betrayal haunt. Man inflicts persistent wounds, and injures nature to satisfy greedy instinct. If man fails to correct erroneous ways of life, he would encounter deserts, waterless future and sky disfigured and so, shall be deprived of the natural blessings and when he goes through ‘Shades of Solitude’ it offers an entirely different experience of silent and solemn hope

At times, man sits alone and thinks of flaws and imperfections, for guilt of sins committed surfaces. If he rationalizes, sins overweight efforts. Even if a man apologizes for the negative drifts, it is again a basis for a ‘stinking sod /for the surviving soul’ –

Sometimes, somehow even angels

mislay their sanity

to enter the devils’ dungeon.

 (Remorse 33)

Man spurns truth and wants to adopt ways of a coarse and uncivilized world. Poet is deeply conscious of the prevalent corruption, greed, dishonesty, political iniquity, inequality and economic exploitation and fall in ethical values. Living among the corrupt, the violent and the hidden terrorists, the sophisticated without resentment and resistance, makes life difficult. ‘We are Living’ 43, is a scathing denunciation of double standards a contemporary man –

We’re living in a land

that abounds in

wolves, hyenas, and jackals…

when morals, ethics and virtues…

love and compassion banished,

jealousy and hatred rule the roost.  

Talks of wrongdoings and felonious acts of times appear brutally right and a man laments loss of truth and righteousness. He condemns rulers and bureaucrats for the unethical and dangerous conspiracy –

 If hopes were horses, everyone would ride.

What queer times!

Masters have to beg for bread!

Yet they say: hail democracy!

 (Masters …Beggars 50)

Poet is aware of corruption, immorality and violence prevalent in the society. In “My Country is great’, he is dryly eulogistic. He feels intensely agitated when sleaze, greed, loot and corruption in private and public life bring miseries and dishonour. He looks at rulers, the rich and the powerful with anger.  He cannot do anything, for whistleblowers face elimination. He is conscious of frauds and scandals besmearing the faces of the influential people, who eat everything from sand, coal, fodder, coffins to guns and choppers.  He understands the gap between the rich and the poor, and knows the questionable conduct of the rich.

With coal their faces all black to pate,

Rolling in the mire of fraud, who guess?

My country is indisputably great!

The wealth, they keep away from the State

To show the sheep, nothing do they possess.

 (My Country is Great! 61)

Untruths, lies, and unconstructive qualities never make a good world, and so a strain of penitence visits man: ‘Man prefer matter; Platonic love spurn. /Changed values; human behaviour distorted /…Man rebelled, strayed away for doing damage.’ He sums up destructive attitude of a modern man, who makes social life disturbing.  Poet exhibits anxiety about the man’s fate in present-day scenario and touches not only the material proclivities of an unscrupulous man but also demonstrates man’s deterioration in general conduct and reprehensible fall in ethical quality of life and thus, makes irreparable dents in life of meaning and purpose. He exploits man, nature and unsympathetically misuses natural resources. Mammon worship is the theme of life one infers as poet leads us through a flow of images.

Man has meddles not with morals only,

Dug deep into the bowls of Earth as well;

Has made vulnerable Earth, life, a hell,

In his blind quest for Mammon selfishly.

(Man for Mammon 37)      

He is worried about the deliverance of man if he continues to roll in the quagmire of sickening wealth and power and therefore, theory of karma of Gita comes alive in his mind.  He is aware of the rash and reckless life where none waits for the right moment, and each one wishes to excel.  He wants peace, but remains worried and so jumps beyond capabilities, and stress fills life.  He lives in illusions, and hopes prove meaningless.

****            

The poet recalls life, he enjoyed in the salubrious beauty of nature and rural surroundings. Serene living it was that provided nectar like taste of contentment and delight abundant. He still boasts of life of values and ethics, and sits cozily witnessing the pleasure of city life without a touch of its anxieties. Now, everything looks like a fantasy, a dream of life past bereft of hope of revival. It is difficult to link thoughts to better life. What remains of a philosophy of man when he finds –

The rainbow is lost

in the cacophony

of debates futile;

man has grown fangs to bite man;

love is lost in the human heart,

sits like a vulture on the carcass

digging tones of his own demise.

(There was a Man 59)

A thought of disillusionment overwhelms when not very contented and expectant today, presents a dismal picture of future ahead.

If one side of the hill appears dried out and barren, memories continue to go back and tell tales of charm and magic, for tales bubble within young hearts longing for the divine and so try to reach the pinnacle of glory. Curiosity forces an inquisitor to go beyond the reach of eyes. Man’s intrusiveness visualizes it when he hears that everything merges into ‘one integrated whole.’ All animate and inanimate beings move towards the destination ‘A Harmonious whole’ that is not culpable and innocent, for when a man goes beyond, he is one with the eternal and forgets feelings of ‘all the warmth and all the chill.’ At this moment, ‘self’ realizes the ultimate reality.

Deathless is the light

That shines beyond the end

Where all the tides

Of all the oceans rest and cease…

 (Beyond the Yonder Hill 42)           

Poet is disgusted and disillusioned at the massive and thoughtless destruction man causes to nature and so, he wants to escape inherent torture.  In ‘Live with  Winning Thunder’ 51, he talks of affectionate parents, who take care, rear up and make childhood and adolescence lively and meaningful and make it a point that children grow healthy in life with an objective –

 God’s been so kind to grant this far last.

Let’s save with sense we’ve got what

True, ‘Life is a nine day’s wonder’,

Live it, live with winning thunder.   

If thoughts of perseverance and endurance remain alive, life gets meaning. One need not think much but should think of a myna. After satisfying its hunger, it perches on a dry tap and waits for a drop of water. It tries many a time and when satisfied, flies away silently. It does not complain, laments not, and no cribbing ever disturbs but sincere efforts continue to guide the bird. It conveys a great lesson to man, and the poet also appears to tell philosophically the secret of a happy and contended life. After the bird satisfies its thirst, it –

…flies away, unlike human beings:

greedily helpless, helplessly greedy

by their nature; care little for those

who fail to get a day’s square meal.

will man ever learn to live

like these creatures of nature

who do not boast of Man’s slyness?

 (Will Man ever learn to live…66)

Contentment and lack of hunger for more teach lessons of life, and encourage man to think in right perspective. Selfishness and ulterior motives do not permit man to live a life of grace and honesty. ‘True Happiness,’ 64, 65, ‘We Frolic & Frisk with the Waves,’ 67 and ‘Tsunami Memorial, Andamans’ 68, 69 are beautiful lyrics that sing hymns in glory of the island, nature and man. He philosophically remarks that life is a mine of tranquility, pleasure and enjoyment on Earth, only if a man has time ‘to look around and care.’   Dancing, frisking and frolicking of waves around convey an eternal message that hard work gives inner and outer pleasure. On the other hand, he laments over the immense tragedy Tsunami brought. Standing before the memorial, he thinks agonizingly of the destruction and huge natural disaster brought to man. When calamity and death visit and disturb man, he looks up for help, and offers prayers. To this extent, the poet thinks on existential self and reality.

External reality appears chaotic, disturbing and unsystematically arcane and he tries to elucidate with images but cannot justify adequately. An inner struggle continues and in intensity of creative upsurge, he feels free and sincerely gives expression to experiences with the help of images again. One observes consistent efforts where the poet tries to find fusion between the subjective and objective and as a formalist, wishes to go beyond the normal range and import of words and images, he uses and at this stage, he beautifies the text and the art of poetry.

****                                    

pckA trilingual author of more than forty books in English and Hindi, P C K Prem (p c katoch)   post-graduated in English literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1970, taught English in colleges of Punjab and Himachal before shifting to civil services and then served as Member, Himachal Public Service Commission.  With three books on criticism in English, seven novels and two collection of short fiction, he has brought out nine volumes of poetry. A bureaucrat turned academician, Katoch Prem (a winner of several awards) is a poet, novelist, short storywriter and critic in English from Himachal, India

                                                             ****

 

 

Golden Cacti by Sunil Sharma

 
1 (1)Paperback: 90 pages
Publisher: Authors Press (January 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9381030235
ISBN-13: 978-9381030233
 
Reviewed by P C K PREM
 
 
In Golden Cacti, a collection of beautiful verses, Sunil Sharma opens up heart of urban life, its dry joys and its continuous struggles for survival, difficulties and sufferings, dreariness and consequent agonies that linger on even when a man stops looking at life as it was. Vivid images, natural metaphors and striking portrayal of feelings and thoughts inspire, excite and question the man trying to find meaning in disturbed times.  Poet in Sunil strikes an optimistic note and finds every moment and every creation superb, a gift of god. Surprisingly, he goes back to past to find roots and looks out for a man of his roots and origin.
He is critical of alien’s domination and language, and does not want that anything should change to please a usurper, a ruler of unethical outlook. When the poet goes to a few lands across the globe, nostalgic memories of colonial life ancestors lived disturb him.  It was not a single impact on the life of natives but it encompassed the country’s culture and heritage and made visible dents. A tenderhearted poet feels emotively about the days, and experiences agonies as a man of history. None can ever stop a man from going to his roots and land. Again, in ‘Let Us Recall’ 26, the poet goes to past to ‘revive lapsed days and lost glories’. Nature of man to find comforts in seemingly happy past is a habit as anxieties and pains of present choke him.
             A Marxist thought emerges in ‘Lunch’ 15, when he talks of a poor hard working stonebreaker, who just manages to fill her belly and keeps a dry chapatti with pickle for her frail husband. He paints a pathetic picture of workers, who live in miseries while the rich always crave for variety in food every time.  Ironical urban sensibility loves to lament on the plight of the poor and miserable but does nothing worthwhile and definite, for it is living in obesity and opulence. Instantly, the poet creates a sad, melancholic and cheerless picture in ‘Urban Existence’ 17, where pigeons perch still on a wire, unhappily reflect on the mental condition of a lonely housewife it appears. Yes, loneliness corrodes finer instincts of urbanites despite glamour and riches. 
                                                   
Inner unexpressed anguish is equally disturbing in ‘The Three Urban Scenes’ 46, where the poet speaks with a restrained voice about a tiny bulbul on a power pole, a vagabond with a plastic bag containing dirty rags and an old man waiting for a warm call from a son living in a distant land. The three living beings have particular areas of pain, hope and hope amidst possible disappointment.
On the other hand, feelings of a displaced person earning livelihood or trying to settle down elsewhere invite compassion, for he lives like a timid pigeon in urban setting. It is painful when one does not live in usual locale. (Migrant Woes 27)  Poet speaks of a truth everyone would accept without apparent nod. A man may live a happy and rich life elsewhere, but at moments of anguish born of nostalgia, he goes back to feel the smell of his land and home where ancestors lived.
            The poet looks into the nature of animate and inanimate, and frames images to define life’s issues. If ‘The strange Walls’ refuse feelings of communion and humanity, ‘Under the Cherry Tree’ and ‘Beauty’ speak of a rich and blessed life. If in ‘Poet Rejected’ and ‘Redundancies’ he talks of the poet, poetry and inherent pangs, in ‘Poetry Calling’ 37, the poet underscores what poetry does for man and humanity.
 
Poets
Should become
Heralds of harmony and solidarity,
Resisting forces of hate
And mongers of war
Through a
Kinetic art
           
Poetry brings only peace, compassion, harmony and happiness to humankind. In a similar way, through ‘The Flower Sermon’ 41, the poet conveys another positive message and tells that ‘Each one of us, /If we try, /Can become a Buddha,’ and live at peace. Poet is tender and soft at heart and speaks eloquently about the wretched and contemptible condition of man. Life in urban areas despite seeming joys and comforts does not offer an encouraging testimony of happiness because a man suffocates and aspires for clean air and open space for stretching arms and legs.
In manmade sky-touching structures, if he brags of attainments, he also feels restricted, and so inhales polluted air and survives smilingly, and hopes for a free life where even relations feel the pressure of loneliness in awful living conditions. Neither a man in a towering building living in a specified area of an apartment is happy within, nor does he enjoy life in a slum because certain scarcities in life give constant troubles. Such thoughts form the outline of many lyrics.  Amidst, inner turmoil and outer glitter, a man aspires for happiness and peace.
                                       
            Wide spread violence tortures. The poet appears quite upset. Acts of man endanger humanity notwithstanding his determined struggle for bringing peace and harmony. He looks around and feels tormented within as terrorism and mindless killing of innocent people all over the world destabilize everyone. Racial and ethnic hate disturb noble creations on earth. Distortion and unjust ways in societies do not provide comforts to man. It is not only hatred and terror-filled inclinations of man that bring disharmony in life of a man, but social evils also bring anguish and disturbance.
Man ought to work for peace of man and society, and if he does not, he brings acrimony, violence and war. He rightly observes –
 
Let us unite, then
And make it
The latest credo
for the new century
of hope and belief
And trash the forces
Of scepticism,
Cynicism
And disbelief
Via this simple anthem
Of love and faith.’
(For Peace, Let Us All Stand 70).
 
He repeats intensity of anxiety for peace in another powerful poem ‘Let Peace Prevail –Lines from a Graffiti Artist’s Work on the Wall’ 71. He looks like a high priest of peace, who oversees violence everywhere in the world and asks man to live in peace, not a very tall demand. Sunil loves to reflect on private matters and in the process, he adds authenticity to the verse and indirectly, establishes poetic relationship with the reader. In personal poems, he speaks for many. A woman plays many roles in life, and with a few exceptions, she carries the family and societal obligation in a dignified manner as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. After marriage, she looks after two families with entirely different setups and habits. However, the change is wonderful. After she comes back from maternal home, she –
 
Instantly morphed into a homemaker, a teacher
Journalist, mom and wife.
The different personas …
(Transformations 74)
           
One finds the poet at ease and quite comfortable, for truth moves the pen so effortlessly. Again, the poet’s emotionality becomes obvious in ‘A Grass Widower/Lover Writes’ where he talks of momentary separation, starlit nights, bangles, silver anklets, lingering laughter, and scented presence in summer nights, perfume, smiles sweet and angelic, and fragrant Raatrani flowers when he thinks  lovingly of his wife Sangeeta. He is passionately true when he says –
 
 You are,
Therefore,
The smiling Muse
To my poet within,
Dearest Sangeeta,
And
The best-ever Valentine.
And this –
 An ode dictated by Cupid,
On this sleepless night.’
            (Ibid. 90)
 
Sure, a reader ought to value a husband’s sentimental love for a wife.
At another level, the poet sensitively talks of an Indian, a victim of apartheid and opens a poignant page from the history of South Africa. He reveals many truths and facts in simple words –
 
When the prison officers become prisoners
And the political prisoners
Are treated as new leaders,
And
A just society
Finally
Comes out fine.
 (Tempering of the Steel 82)
           
His lyrics are engaging. He is a passionate advocate of peace and harmony. Human relationships form the basis of his philosophy. Man lives in illusions and rarely admits, for a subtle fantasy determines the march of man the poet asserts. Urban living fires ambitions but the efforts remain incommensurate and therefore, consequent failures paint a dismal picture. Urban in theme, the poetry attracts and disturbs. At times, he relates experiences to history and co-relates everything to personal life. He is best when he speaks about the truth of experiences. He does not permit experience to distort truth or at times, he cannot visualize a situation where truth appears fragmentary but then, he is forced to live within the parameters of language to give shape and structure to truth, experiences and facts but he does it with conviction.   He is authentic, compelling and forceful and never for a moment forgets that he has an objective to attain as a poet of man and humanity. 
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pckpremA trilingual author of more than forty books in English and Hindi, P C K Prem (p c katoch)   post-graduated in English literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1970, taught English in various colleges of Punjab and Himachal before shifting to civil services and then, served as Member, HP Public Service Commission. He has brought out nine volumes of poetry besides books on criticism in Hindi and English.  Katoch Prem (a winner of several awards) is a poet, novelist, short story writer and critic in English from Himachal Pradesh.