Dr. D. B. Gavani
Poetry is either a personal or an impersonal but a natural entity that drizzles like a morning shower of dew or a mossy mist; that floats and forms the unknown brook takes its winding turns in zigzag formulating the rills and ridges slowly convulsing into the peaceful dense and marking the minute miniatures in the cool sequestered valleys where all the alleys renounce and echoed to lose their nonchalant nomenclature yet to adapt an inspiring image and name and local habitation stating airy nothings herself baptised “I am a Muse!”
I am elated to portray the trajectory of each nut and fruit born out of the bud and shrub spreading their fragrance in their coercion and tasted their elemental sour and sweet kernel. I am engrossed in the poetic beauty that these poems have ostentatiously marvelled my perennial paths of love and lust, fair and foul, beautiful and ugly, friend and fiend, preserver and destroyer in conceptual clarity and at perpetual stances meandering the paradigm shift from paranoid, panic, nausea, schizophrenia, hysteria, estrangement, violence, nostalgia, madness and redoubled intensity of namelessness and homelessness; these are disremembered in the parody of unlearning to read often and rereading to learn between the intervals to demarcate what is being rejuvenated or reinvented in the darkness as a light to procure the voyages from known to unknown realms and back to the indigenous cultural ethos.
In the process of making a poem the poet has excelled in amalgamating the heap of broken images and symbols from many poets, philosophers and writers ranging from classical era to neo-post colonial or post - modernist period to annihilate the existing trends and tendencies. The poet is fed with present devalued paraphernalia of sophisticated manners and etiquettes and in turn searches for stones and bricks, sand and cement, plaster and lustre to raise the art and architecture of poetic aura with resounding confidence to the deconstruction of the semantic and semiotic values that they stand for and rest upon foregrounded layers of comprehensive perceptions.
I am staunch believer in the reincarnation of the poet from the poem. Because every poem has a mysterious origin that it demands the sources of inspiration and perspiration through the pores of all the elements. In this sense the poet has attained his venture of making a poem. These poems mesmerise the reader by producing an indelible mark upon the new vistas by projecting the horizon of the expressionism and impressionism. What I personally mean to express is that the reader has to undertake many risks and responsibilities before wagging and winking in the lines of the poem. It is because the poet has dexterously employed the heap of broken images and the familiar characters to modify them into a cliché in the course of constricting the poem. Therefore, I beseech the reader’s talent and genius rather than poet’s ( he has shown it) because the signs, symbols, images, characters, shades and shadows are all elicited from English literature to the largest extent. I presume that the poet is desirous of making an Indian English teacher to acquire and acquaint with English literary world by crawling with and creeping up the pages of texts perceiving the contexts and relocating the preconceived pretexts in the process of proclaiming the deep insight and the designated stances to promote the morale or ideologies through the instances. This is the lacuna among the recent English teachers in higher education scenario. The poet has a strong belief that he can create interest and curiosity among teachers to take up the reading seriously. To the some extent these poems fill the hiatus among the recent entrants in the teaching profession to keep abreast with the present knowledge. This is an enterprising endeavour of the poet in telling and showing the facts and fictions of the real world flying with the wings of poesy.
Now, if you ask me a question, ‘Who is a poet?’ and ‘What is poetry?’ My answer would astound with the flabbergasting remark. According to me, “A poet is a New Reader.” “Poetry is a gunny sack of vocabulary.” This vocabulary represents and works at the level of morphemes. A morpheme is a minimal meaningful contrastive linguistic unit within a word that can carry a meaning. For instance, the word “unbreakable” consists three morphemes ‘un’ - ‘break ’- ‘able’. The reader’s accountability of forming connotative, denotative, contextual, conceptual, spatial, temporal, stylistic, linguistic and literary meanings are deciphered and analysed in a poem. The gunny sack, I mean the poetry, contains the figures of speech and the prosody such as simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, oxymoron and etc., on one hand and iambic, trochee, anapaest, dactyl, spondee, pyrrhic and etc., on another. It’s solipsistic. By solipsism I mean that the ego or self is all that exists and that can be proven to exist. The assumptions and presumptions that exit in the individual category do not carry any public opinion. These categories are not his own and he is not the origin. In this sense these are extracted from others. That is to say the condition to be solipsist of being independent of institutionalized assumptions and free to originate one’s own purposes and goals are never attained and they cannot protect the individual interest without the participation of academia and its modes of interpretations at certain point of time. Thus, the each poem adds strangeness to beauty creating aesthetic pleasure in the New Reader as a poet. For me it is a death of an original poet and neo - existence of the reader. That is why poetry merges into poet and emerges out of the reader. So it is considered that the origin of poetry is mysterious. Poetry is rather reader’s intuitive and imitative art.
I would like to enthral the competence and confidence of a new reader to disseminate in simple words the figures of speech and features of prosody which are studied or unheard of even today:
Alliteration: The repetition of an initial consonant sound.
Anaphora: The repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses. (Contrast with epiphora and epistrophe.)
Antithesis: The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.
Apostrophe: Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character.
Assonance: Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighbouring words.
Chiasmus: A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.
Euphemism: The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit.
Hyperbole: An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.
Irony: The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. A statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.
Litotes: A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.
Metaphor: An implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common.
Metonymy: A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it's closely associated; also, the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly by referring to things around it.
Onomatopoeia: The use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side.
Paradox: A statement that appears to contradict itself.
Personification: A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities.
Pun: A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words.
Simile: A stated comparison (usually formed with "like" or "as") between two fundamentally dissimilar things that have certain qualities in common.
Synecdoche: A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole (for example, ABCs for alphabet) or the whole for a part ("India won the World Cup in 1983").
Understatement: A figure of speech in which a writer or speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is.
Most probably the following are unheard figures of speech to the most of English teachers:
Accismus: Coyness: a form of irony in which a person feigns a lack of interest in something that he or she actually desires.
Anadiplosis: Repetition of the last word of one line or clause to begin the next.
Apophasis: Emphasizing a point by seeming to pass over it--that is, mentioning something while disclaiming any intention of mentioning it.
Aposiopesis: An unfinished thought or broken sentence.
Bdelygmia: A litany of abuse--a series of critical epithets, descriptions, or attributes.
Boosting: An adverbial construction used to support a claim or express a viewpoint more asertively and convincingly.
Chleuasmos: A sarcastic reply that mocks an opponent, leaving him or her without an answer.
Dehortatio: Dissuasive advice given with authority.
Diatyposis: Recommending useful precepts or advice to someone else.
Epexegesis: Adding words or phrases to further clarify or specify a statement already made.
Epimone: Frequent repetition of a phrase or question; dwelling on a point.
Epizeuxis: Repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis (usually with no words in between).
Hypocrisis: Exaggerating the gestures or speech habits of another in order to mock him.
Paronomasia: Punning, playing with words.
Prolepsis: Figurative device by which a future event is presumed to have already occurred.
Skotison: Intentionally obscure speech or writing, designed to confuse an audience rather than clarify an issue.
Synathroesmus: The piling up of adjectives, often in the spirit of invective.
Tapinosis: Name calling: undignified language that debases a person or thing.
Tetracolon Climax: A series of four members, usually in parallel form..
Zeugma: Use of a word to modify or govern two or more words although its use may be grammatically or logically correct with only one.
I have given the new reader an exhaustive list of figures of speech to apply them empirically to all the poems with practical criticism. The need of an hour is to master the feature of prosody that enables the new reader to have an insight into the rhythmic cadence. The prosody is the study of poetic metre and the art of versification. Metrical foot is a group of two or three syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm. A metrical unit is a foot cadence, metre, measure, beat of the unstressed or the stressed syllable in a metrical foot of verse. The scansion of each word in each line of a poem is necessary to demarcate a metrical feet. The following are the base metrical units and metrical term like caesura, masculine ending, feminine ending, run on line and etc., should be studied with great zeal to understand the bathos of poetry:
Iambic: (X/) - a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables
My love,/ your body /did not /attract me
As mag/net at/tracts a/ piece of / iron!
Trochee: (/X) - a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed syllables
You are / truly / an ide / al leader,
Meta/phori /cally /Indian / father,/
Anapaest: (XX/) - a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed-stressed syllables
a. I am proud / to be your / companion / for this life/
b. Once I lov /ed a Jul/iet with all /my good heart; /
c. May I call / thee the queen / of the king /dom of heart?/
May I call / thee the breath /of my life? /
Dactyl: (//X) - a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed-unstressed syllables
a. Exemplary / Indian down/ to the earth / a true Saint /
b. My kith and / kin rose as / Dinosaur / against me/
c. They kept my / name shine as / prakash;/
Spondee: (//) - a metrical unit with stressed-stressed syllables
You are / undoubted / ly my /soul mate
Pyrrhic: (XX) - a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables
How should/ address /you sir,
Amphibrach: (X/X) - a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed-unstressed syllables.
Pardon me / my love if / possible!
In the poem ‘Pardon Me If Possible’ the poet has a firsthand experience of a disappointed love as every man is bound to experience at hey days of youthfulness. Some men dare to express and explore and majority of them keep it like a skeleton in the cupboard. The poet is much more courageous to accept the reality and asks the ladylove to scold him by whatever adjective suffices her painful soul:
“Call me by whatever name of your choice,
Cheat deceitful, foolish, selfish,
Could rise above the common hurdles,
My heart and soul are surrendered to society.”
Furthermore, he is desirous of wooing her in the next generation if there is chance to get a rebirth stating:
“Love let us meet and unite in future
If there is a chance of rebirth”
What I personally do enthral is ‘Love is an EVOLution! Love is a word until the meaning is attached to it by the lover or beloved, master or slave and to love or to be loved. When man becomes victim in the womb of circumstances, he raises his voice against the system where the things are irreparable except hapless notions of repentance that is beautifully portrayed in the following lines of the poem ’Confession’:
“I am a breathing corpse
That smiles only in the company of literary Goddess.
I am an anchorless ship
Sailing in the cruel and unkind ocean of life”
These lines are indication of indictment of human misery and suffering at so called higher academia. The academic ambience is rotten by literate uneducated sots. It is better to respect an illiterate educated mass who sustain their character and morale. The poet has the feeling of lifelessness that knells like a corpse. It is paradoxical to notice that the corpse giggles in the academic company where the Goddess is bogged down to non literariness of literary circle establishing self taboos to grin like ghostly giants. If the life is smooth on the surface of ocean, there is no need of anchor to the ship. When the torrential winds of cruelty and unkindness raptures, the life becomes hazardous and lurks in a vicious circle without any outlet to escape from heinous and hopeless peccaries.
The poet is a party to become a witness to many pathetic situations in life. He has come across many Macbeths, Hamlets, Othellos, Lears and Antonys who represent their qualities and attitudes towards mankind and he scribbles sanguinely in the poem ‘Obsession’:
“Macbeth was obsessed with ambition
Hamlet was obsessed with indecision
Othello was obsessed with jealousy
King Lear was obsessed with human flattery
Antony had obsession for Cleopatra.”
Jesus was crucified and Mahatma was assassinated. The poet has a varied opinion about Mahatma Gandhi. He shows sympathy and empathy to Mahatma not for his ultimate thoughts and ideologies but for Gandhi’s assassination by Gandhian followers in the poem ‘I Have Sympathy for You, Gandhi’:
“Jesus was nailed to death but only once,
O Gandhi! you are nailed each moment by Gandhians!
I sympathise and empathise your daily murder,
You are a tragic hero of Hamlet’s stature.”
The poet is knowingly caricaturing Gandhi’s principles that are used for dialogue and monologue making him and his values a commodity and selling them in an International market. Mahatma has become a thing of laughter in the eyes of the poet. Thus, he has high regards for Gandhi once upon a time for his virtues but today he stands for the symbol of ignorance. He marks his feelings in the poem ‘Chastity and Nobility’:
‘Saint’ was a symbol of virtue once,
‘Saint’ now is a symbol of ignorance;
To be a Gandhi was a matter of pride
Now Gandhi has become thing of laughter
I personally owe myself to pray Mahatma Gandhi for his pious practices. His main goal was to help poor farmers and labourers protesting against British rule for oppressive taxation and discrimination. He is the father of nation who struggled to alleviate poverty, liberate women and put an end to caste discrimination especially against untouchability, with the ultimate objective being self-rule for India. Even after his demise, Gandhi's commitment to non-violence and his belief in simple living – weaving his own clothes on charaka, eating a vegetarian diet such as groundnut and goat’s milk and practising fasts for self-purification as well as a means of protest viz., Satyagraha i.e., an urge for truth - have been a beacon of hope for apartheid, oppressed and marginalized people throughout the world.
The poet is happy with his soul mate. She is an angel of the house. In spite of the age gap, there is superb conjugal relationship with mutual understanding. That is why the poet is proud of his wife who has fulfilled all his desires and dreams on and off throughout his life. This is the bond of true love and compassion. God bless him that he is once carried away by gorgeous women like Fanny Brown, Maud Gonne, Cleopatra, Helen, Florence, Stella, Juliet, Mona Lisa, Menaka, Laila, Sita, Draupadi and Eve. They are the iconoclasts. Their image and character is measured not only on their body politics but on their tenacity, sagacity, piety and nobility. They are the women of substance and self sacrifice. Hats up to their stupendous sweetness and light! Their possessive nature has levelled the human nature by making man a Man and humanising human a Humane! The attitude of male should be modified towards female in patriarchal society. This has made the poet to express the inner beauty of his soul mate in the poem ‘To my Soul’s Companion’:
“I am proud to be your companion for this life
You are undoubtedly my soul mate
If there are rebirths and life in future
My heart, mind, soul crave for you to be my escort”
The poet has his liberty to explore the novel spaces in the course of interweaving a poem with strong emotions. The paradoxical attitude of the poet holds the mirror of dichotomization of his concerns about women in the poem ‘To My Soul’s Companion’ and ‘Pardon Me If Possible’:
“Love let us meet and unite in future
If there is a chance of rebirth”
The rhythm and diction should be taken care of. The repetition of assonance and consonance along with the strings of words should be avoided to elevate the poetic talent in projecting liveliness of the inferences and nuances. I humbly request the new reader as a poet should take up the venture of reading these poems without any biased thoughts or preoccupied notions about the poet or any other person. Then only the efforts and dreams of the poet will be fulfilled with great joy and ecstasy. Hence, I honestly proclaim that the reader should take care of each line of the poem to create poetic truth and poetic beauty. Read him with reason that the poet exhibits. The reader should read the poem with the care that the poet has deserved. By and large, this is one of the most excellent contributions to Indian English Literature. I pressurize upon Dr. Baloj to write more and more poems in English. I express my deep sentiment of love and affection to Dr. Shantinath Baloj for having given me this opportunity to share my views and ideas.
With fondest amity,
Gadag Dr. D. B. Gavani
145th Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary