Trauma as Touchstone: A Peep into K.V. Dominic’s Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond
Dr. Dharmendra Kumar Singh
ABSTRACT: This world of ours has been passing through such a time, where owing to Covid-19, there are great anxieties, agonies, pains and pangs in the heart and soul of everybody. There is chaos everywhere. None and nothing is certain. Directly or indirectly, people throughout the world have been so badly affected by it that they are crying for their existence. Here, through this paper, is to see whether a literati like K.V. Dominic can remain aloof from reflecting the trauma of Covid-19 in his creation, and how his poetry collection Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond (2021) presents the zeitgeist of Covid-times. What covid is to him--good or bad is a matter of consideration too. Generally, a Litterateur is also the part of this world so s/he could not remain untouched from his/her society and his/her literature mirrors the society. Theory of ‘butterfly effect’ is common to all. Such is with literature too. Even though a small incident shakes the hearts and souls of the each and every writer so greatly that it becomes the core of his/her creations. As a result during this Covid times, hundreds of books dealing with banes and boons of Covid-19 were written in various genres in various languages not only in India but also in distant countries. Hence, an attempt has been taken to trace out trauma as touchstone in Dominic’s poetry collection Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond (2021).
KEYWORDS: Trauma, Covid-19, Zeitgeist, Litterateur, Literati, Musings, Duex ex Machina
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ,it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we were nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct to other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 9)
The path of the progress and development of human being is too thorny. It is not smooth but brimming with various obstacles, uncertainties and darkness. Many history and geography changing battles, wars, natural and man- made disasters, tragedies, epidemics and pandemics fell on its way. Whether to talk of Norman Conquest of England (1066), or of the fall of Constantinople (1453), or of the WW I & II (1914-1918 & 1939-1945), or of the Yellow River Flood of China (1887), or of the Shaanxi Earthquake of China (1556), or of the Bhola Cyclone of India (1970), or of the Collision of the Continental Crust of Indian and Eurasian Plates (about 50 million years ago), or of the Chernobyl disaster of USSR (1986), or of the Bhopal disaster also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy of India (1984), or of the Great plague/black death of London (1665-66), or of the Cholera Pandemic of India (1852-1860), or of the Great Influenza/Spanish Flu (1918) and so on. All of them directly or indirectly affected the poise and passivity of the world and its people. World knows and history is its witness that pandemics and epidemics are not rare but common. They have been continually knocking at the door of the world in each and every century. History has seen and felt their existence. Sometimes feeble and sometimes strong have been they but have been. Whenever and wherever they arrive, their arrival horrified and terrified the mass. The literature of the world says so, so says the world of the literature. Why to go for witness on the buried pages of history when we ourselves are its witness, i.e., of COVID–19?
Covid -19 is an acronym that stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019. It is also known as 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). It is the deadliest pandemic that originated in the end of the second decade of the 21st century. Originating from Wuhan (China), this dragon has wrapped the whole world in its fatal claws too fast and rapidly beyond the human computation and imagination. It gave no time to the world to be alert. It began to engulf the lives of the innocent people. Families after families were engulfed. Cities after cities were de-peopled. Roads after roads and streets after streets were deserted. Hospitals were over crowded. Over crowded were burial sites, i.e., cemetery and crematorium. Public places–schools, markets, halls and malls etc. were closed for uncertain times. It broke the mother’s lap and wiped the vermilion from the forehead of the ladies. Issues were made orphan and the old helpless. Uncertainty prevails everywhere. There was uncertainty in everything. Nothing was certain whether it is life or earning, food or learning, walking or talking. Everything was banned. People who were continuously running after the goals of their aspirations were in the gaols in/at their houses. The market of the rumors was high. Rationality was hiding behind the skirt of the irrationality. All were patients and all were doctors. Rest was silence for the rest. Noted lines from “The Lotus Eaters,” versified by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the representative poet of the Victorian Age, present the gloomy, lethargic, and passive mood and tone of the time of the days of yore as well as of the masses of Covid time well:
Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
And in a little while our lips are dumb.
Let us alone. What is it that will last?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.
Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
To war with devil? Is there any peace
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
All things have rest, and ripen towards the grave
In silence – ripen, fall and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark Death, or dreamful ease. (82)
Sad, gloomy and pessimistic feelings and spirits that were hovering over the world due to covid-19 affected the literaties of the world very badly. Its effect was not only on their hearts and minds but also on their poetic world and their creations. It is worth weight in gold, and not said in vain, that literature is the mirror of the society and each and every age of the history of (English) literature has been its representative poets/writers who have represented their time with the reflection of the good and bad values, virtues and vices, complexity of human conflicts, moralities and immoralities, traumas and healings, ease and disease of their milieu in their literary works. The literature of the yore had also been affected by the continual occurrences of the disasters, tragedies and pandemics. From Homer’s Iliad (8th century BCE), Sophocles,’ Oedipus Rex (c.429 BC), Boccaccio’s Decameron (1886) to Stephen King’s The Stand (1978) and Ling Ma’ Severance (2018) all talk about pandemics have. Besides all these, Daniel Defoe’s A Jounal of the Plague Year (1772), Mary Shelley’s The Last man (1826), Alan Edgar Poe’s Masque/Mask of the Red Death (1842) and Albert Camus’ The Plague (1947) have the glimpses of the pandemic. The history of the western literature such as it is offers much in the way of catharsis, ways of processing story emotions, and political commentary on how human beings respond to public health crises. Presenting the chaos of the plague, Albert Camus in the opening chapter of the novel The Plague writes: “Everyone knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world, yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our head from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.…” (18). All these cited works show the striking similarities between the current covid-19 pandemic and the other old ones.
Indo-English poetry has also been affected by the covid trauma and has been witnessing that the birds that are sad still sing as the pandemic, Covid-19, shook the poets so badly that they took pen to pen the pain in their poems. Chief among them are Dr. Debasis Panigrahi, a bilingual poet hailing from Odisa. His heart touching poetry collection is Mellowed With Years (2021). The next is a Gujrati poetess Parul Khakhar. She wrote a dirge in 14 lines entitled as “A Hearse Called Ganga”. Other poets also have tried their hands on Covid poetry or poetry during Covid -19 in India. As Dr. Sudhir K. Arora, in his research paper entitled as “Poetry in Quarantine or Quarantine in Poetry” has presented a literary galaxy of forty poets with their golden glimming lines on ‘Virus Poems’, i.e., poems versified during the time of Covid-19 describing the trauma of Covid. Jaydeep Sarangi, Syed Ali Ahmad, Dalip Khetarwal, Romila Paulath Singh, Srishti Sharma, Sangeeta Sharma, S. L. Peeran, R. K. Singh, Sutanuka Ghosh Roy, and Rumpa Ray Ghosh have a good place and position in this literary galaxy of ‘Virus Poems’. A bonafide poet-cum-critic K. V. Dominic, hailing from Kerala, is one of them. He too could not escape from the touch of Covid’s effect that resulted in his collection of poetry Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond (2021). This collection of his poetry consists of 43 poems out of which 9 poems including “Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times,” “Covid Victims and Villains,” “Covid-19 Exodus 1, 2 and 3,” “Haiku on Covid-19,” “Mask can’t Suppress One’s Hunger,” “Nitin’s Sublim sacrifice,” “Subaida’s Donation to Covid-19 Relief fund,” and “Magnetism of Mother” are on covid and the rest on the various subjects.
Before going through the poems of Dominic on Covid -19, there is need to understand the terms ‘trauma’ and ‘touchstone’. The former, belonging to medical field, is an emotional response to a terrible event or incident causing exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, and physical arousal variously with its three varieties generally acute, chronic and complex while the later is a fundamental or quintessential part or feature of a thing with which a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing is decided. It is also connected with the myth of ‘Paras Pathar’ that turns iron into gold besides it, it is used for assaying precious metal alloys. In the field of literary criticism, famous Victorian poet-cum-critic Matthew Arnold introduced it as a critical term (‘touchstone method’) with the objectivity of critical evaluation by providing comparison and analysis as the two primary tools for judging the others.
After having a cursory glance at the terms ‘trauma’ and ‘touchstone’ one by one, there is need to present the zeitgiest of the covid phenomenon. In the words of the poet Prof. K.V. Dominic, “As we have been passing through the agonies of the Covid pandemic since the end of 2019, the writers all over the world have been affected directly or indirectly by this vicious phenomenon. As a result, hundreds of books have come out during this pandemic times dealing with the banes and boons of covid – 19.” (“Preface,” Musings on covid Pandemic and Beyond. 25)
While Arora, in the style of Bihari and Bacon, says a lot about all the related things to Covid phenomenon. He writes:
Quarantine during Covid-19 has awaken the philosopher hidden somewhere within every human being. It has not only given him sufficient time to think over this condition, but also made him realize the truth of what he was and what he is. Poetry in quarantine …offers a mirror for the poets to reveal not only what they see but also what they wish to see also according to their mental attitudes which work on observations and intuitions…poets…have given voice to their heart-felt feelings and thoughts, experienced and observed while living in quarantine during covid-19…” (“Abstract,” Poetry in Quarantine or Quarantine in Poetry: Various Thematic Shades)
Now, there is need to going through the present collection of poetry to peep into for trauma as touchstone. First of all, the title of the collection needs attention. The eye catching word of the title is ‘musings’ that stands for ‘a period of reflection or thought,’ but here it is chiefly on Covid the pandemic of 2019. Although this period of Pandemic is not over, the thought of the intellectuals of the world is hovering over it. Past is past but ‘during and beyond’ need care and attention. The musings of the Covid period that the poet has described in this collection deal with its banes and boons testifying with his poetic touchstone all those deeds of the masses that they have done. The saying that “Every coin has two sides” is also applicable to this pandemic and the poet has embraced its both sides equally well. As in the very first poem of this collection “Corona Virus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times” the versifier using the bathetic (bathos) lines says that man is sublime. He is the mightiest of all the creations and most intelligent but pity is this that he is impotent before too negligible and invincible (but now as it seems) corona virus. As he writes:
Oh human being,
Mightiest of all creations!
Emperor of all beings!
How impotent you are!
How imprisoned you are!
How swept away you are
By too negligible
And invisible coronavirus! (p.27)
Further the poet describes the balancing nature of the nature and hints indirectly towards the world famous naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) (‘survival of the fittest’) and the world famous economist Thomas Malthus’ (1766-1834) (three factors- war, famine and disease - of controlling the population), theories. Describing the universal fact, he pens:
Balancing is law of Nature
Survival of all species
Based on survival of the fittest
Homo sapience is no exception
Nature limits human numbers
Through its powerful weapons:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
How many will survive is yet to be seen
There might even come an age
When human species disappears
As Mesozoic era of Dinosaur.
(“Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times.” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 27-28)
These quoted lines remind the most famous lake poet of 19th century William Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798.” In this hallmarking poem, the poet seeing the harmonious nature of the nature writes: “Nature did never betray / the heart that loved her.” (160).
Here (In the noted stanza), the noted point is this that one side he (Dominic, the poet) weeps for the untimely death of the people, on the other hand he curses for the unbalancing nature of the man. To him, as it seems after going through this collection of poetry, selfish man always imbalances the nature with his selfish indulgences while selfless nature continually tries to make selflessly a balance herself in many ways--flood, landslide, tsunami, famine, diseases and pandemic etc. Nature again and again tries to dress the canker that man makes on her breasts with false intentions again and again. In this process of balancing, the little jerk that nature gives in various forms brings catharsis for man and this catharsis to man is nothing but like a mother’s slap on the face of the naughty baby with the intention of checking it (baby) from going bad. Knowing all this, with the intention of giving a warning to man, Dominic, the poet, cries in anger:
Viruses were evolved
Even before you were born
Who asked you to kick
Hornets’nests in jungle?
Why did you tresspass
Is not your greed
That opened the Pandora’s box?
(“Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times,” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 27)
Further the poet thinks and writes that nature believes in the universal theory of tit for tat too. As sometimes the parents has to take hard steps to save their issues from going on the wrong paths, in the same way nature too has to do so to avoid the unbalance in its/her realm of harmony. His belief is in the theory of co-existence of all the creatures of the universe, i.e., the eco-system theory (1935) of Sir Arthur George Tansley (1871-1955), world famous British botanist and ecologist. This is why in “Haiku on Covid-19” the poet Dominic playing on and with the words writes:
God to human beings:
Mask you wear is punishment
For masking in your lives. (43)
Prima facie, this deleterious death (covid-19) made no difference between the poor and the rich. Those who came under its fatal and lethal claws, passed away without any delay and distinction. The hallmarking lines that Thomas Gray (1716-1771), the leader of the ‘Graveyard Poetry’ wrote in the poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” are common with them but with a little ups and downs. He believes that it was more harmful for the poor than the rich. The music that they (the poor) faced turned their scale leaving next to nothing. It was calamity to them while for the rich it was nothing but the sword of Democles as they thought and tried to check the chariot of death with the power of money. For poor people, it was penseroso but for the rich it was allegro at first sight. Latter is before the eyes of the world. But now, there is need to see how Gray and Dominic look it. Gray wrote:
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power
And all that beauty that wealth ever gave
Awaits alike the inevitable hour
The path of glory leads but to the grave. (173 )
Poor are easy preys of pandemics
Half of the world population-
. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Worst affected by lockdown
Incomeless they live at government’s mercy.
(“Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times,” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 33)
What Ramesh Chandra Mukhopadhyaya in “Foreword” to Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond writes about the effect of Covid-19 in Dominic’s poems is worth-mentioning here:
Dominic is very apt in his delineation of the impact of Corona virus. He calls it a revolution or a forced change of social structure. Just as the advent of Jesus in the west brought about a total change in all the sphere of life and thought , and just as the industrial revolution effected a radical change in every sphere of life and action , so does corona virus muted our times honored beliefs and way of life. (15)
When the effects of Corona is talked/discussed, it must be kept in mind that it affected each and every strata of the society socially, financially, psychologically and religiously. Socially, the Covid-19 shattered the first unit of the society that is called family like the pieces of glass. Shaking its roots from all the directions and uprooting it, It (Covid) proved its fictitious and illusive (MOH-MAYA) existence. Pulling out the sapling of the relations, it proved that all the relations of the world is/are only based on need - no more or less than that. For instance, during that evigheden period, neither parents nor children were ready to receive the dead bodies of their relatives for cremation or burial. The dead-bodies were being thrown into the gutters. This pandemic revealed that only money is the bond of the most of the relations- no money no relation. Humanity is/was selcouth. Selcouth was its philosophy. Execrable was its effect to describe in the words. Notwithstanding in this aonaran period, the few social workers stood first on the risk of their best to treasure the humanity and its treasures, serving the masses sacrificed their best. With a toska, Dominic writes:
Hundreds of martyrs
Doctors, nurses, health workers
Sacrificed their lives
For their people and nations
Many have died of want
Of personal protective equipments
Risking their own lives and
Families depending on them
They worked and died for
millions of their fellowmen.
(“Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times,” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 34)
Covid-19 is not only a global pandemic and health crisis but also a global economy and financial crisis. Reduction in income, rising in unemployment, and disruption in transportation services, and ceasing of the production in the factories brought the world on the edge of hunger and penury. None and nothing was wonderwall to the poor and the needy. If there was something, it was only a drop in the ocean. Seeing the alew of the impoverished people during this crucial period of pandemic, counting the name of the poor, the poet writes in the poem “Covid Victims and villains” how they are on the edge of penury. John the farmer, Krishnan the kind hearted, Kurian the runner of the huge quarry, Lolan who leads pure veggie life, Salim the owner of the little teashop, Shamans the exploiter of the ignorant people, and many politicians who live on the donation of the poor people – all, all of them suffer. Further in the poem “Covid-19 Exodus 1”, the poet describing the universal plight of the family of Arvind the worker in a plastic factory in Delhi, writes:
Lockdown has drowned lives of
Millions of labourers in the world
Several millions are already unemployed
Covid-19 lockdown in India tumbled
Happy life of Arvind and his family
Lost job in plastic factory in Delhi
No income now for daily life
Since house rent has been due
Building owner drove him out
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
Though he has nothing left
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
Arvind represents thousands
Of migrant labourers on exodus
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
Absence of the trains compelled them to walk
Alas, the train itself took away their lives! (40)
The psychological effect of corona was too heavy for the people to survive. It brought the whirlwind of depression, heart attack and death for them. As, the hovering winds of the hopelessness and pessimistic feelings like American Tornado swept away the vital air of the people from their mortal body from this earth for forever. Coronaphobia and Ultracrepidarianism were in full swing. People were leading a Midasian life. Corona was here. Corona was there. Corona was all around. Nothing was safe. Everything was infected with its various variants. The noted point is this that Corona could not undo the people but its phobia did the work. These things are sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly reflected by Dominic. For instance, the traces of Covid-19 can be found out here too:
Jafer, 70, led dignified life
Worked hard as head load labourer
Covid lockdown tore his dignity
No bank balance and none to help
Hunger drove him shamelessly
Goes with dirty mask from door to door
Fearing police and rebuke of residents
Alas, Masks can save from disease
But can’t suppress one’s hunger!
(“Mask can’t Suppress One’s Hunger,” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 45)
Commenting on the hollowness of the religions and its rituals, like a true apatheist the poet in Dominic questions on God and His authorities in the manner of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), the Victorian novelist, who wrote “God’s is not in His heaven; all’s wrong with the world.” (Chap. 37, lls-359. Tess of the D’Urbervilles: A pure woman faithfully Presented. Pub.1891).The poet in him too could not check itself seeing the plight of the people lying (in) bated breath of annus horribilis 19/20. The result is that on one side he hails covid-19 as a ‘miracle worker’ as it closed all the licensed shops that were run on/by the name of various branded religions, on the other hands -but not neglecting the existence of God- he advocates that God is pleased only with love not with pseudo rituals and hypocrisy. Through the following mind sparkling lines it (the poet in him) comes before our eyes:
You could easily do
Such an inconceivable miracle
Which sages tried
And failed from ages to ages
Churches, mosques, temples
Synagogues, gurdwaras and
All such worshiping places closed
Preachers, priests, shamans, godmen
Have sought shelter
In their locked houses
. . . . . . . . . . … .. .
God can never be
Pleased by rituals
Instead He demands
Love and compassion
Be compassionate to
All humans, non humans,
Nature and universe
Coronavirus has proved
Deficiencies of religions
Religions fail to
Cure physical ailments.
(“Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times.” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 29)
Seeing the red tapism of the government and its machineries, the gold hearted poet feels bee in his bonnet. He can’t lie low. He does (as) what a poet can do. His pen performs the duty of its own. As he has ever been follower of the saying ‘pen is mightier than the sword,’ the result is that the faint hearted poet, without any hesitation, excoriates all the related authorities in the noted but bitter and harsh words:
Why is fate so cruel to the poor?
Haven’t the governments
Any prick of conscience?
How can they ignore such piercing sights?
(Covid-19 Exodus 2, Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 42.)
To him, in this tenebrous time of co-morbidity, exasperation and morosis, this catharsis of covid is nothing but a tectonic blessing in disguise. ‘What God does good does’ and ‘when one way closes another opens’ are his advocacy here too. The noted lines of his one poem wear his heart of his sleeves about Covid-19. As in the 5th section of the poem “Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times” he states that corona virus is on the surface a blessing and not a curse because human life has once again been in close touch with Nature vice versa. He versifies:
Lockdown brought happiness and peace in houses
Children get love and care of father and mother
Husbands shower love on their wives
Wives care needs of their husbands
Old parents get proper attention and love
Pets and domestic animals are happier than before. (31)
To him, the othicopa of this cunctipotent Covid, as it seems, is more good than to be bad. As he writes:
You could rein well
People’s attitudes of extravaganza
Made them rational and frugal
Marriage ceremonies and feasts
For hundreds and thousands
Limited now to a dozen or two
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
Since churches, mosques
And temples are closed
Millions are saved of festival expenses
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
Coronavirus has established
Vulnerable nature of human beings
Virus enters human body
Irrespective of gender, age,
Race, religion or nation
No discrimination to poor or rich
A billionaire or a beggar.
(“Coronavirus, Mightist Wizard of all Times,” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 32)
To him, Covid-19 is as revolutionary as the west wind (Zypher) was to P.B. Shelly, the rebel romantic poet of 19th century. Like Shelley, Dominic, the poet is seen as a rebel who wants revolution in each and every strata of society. To him Covid-19 is a symbol of change in the very style of Shelley’s west wind. The poet is under the direct influence of his time. Dominic being a representative poet of ‘Virus Era’ can never be a ukiyo so he writes faithfully what he sees:
You have made revolution
In all spheres of life
Academic bodies have started
Online classes, video conferences
Webinars, online exams and interviews
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
People are freed from use of cosmetic powder
Lipstick, bleaching, dyeing and such
. . . . …. . … . . . . . . . . . .
Since civil law forbids people from spitting
Roads are clean and rid of infectious germs.
(“Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times, Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 36)
Dominic, the poet, is never pessimistic but always optimistic so he believes in the evanescent nature of the virus. The saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ is his hymn (Mantra). His poetry reminds People the poetic world of Robert Browning, the Victorian poet. To him both life and world are full of imperfection but in this very imperfection lies hope. He always sees the glass as half-full. Being a true optimistic person, even though in/ during this tragic period of pandemic, he thinks the best possible thing will happen, and hopes for it even if it’s not likely. According to him, far not are the days when this pandemic will come a cropper. It’s his spilling optimism that makes him write such memorable lines:
Oh mighty Coronavirus
Tiniest in size
You made history on earth
History of human race
Divided into two
Before covid-19 (BC)
And after covid-19 (AC)
Unlike AD/BC or CE/BCE
BC/AC is universal and phenomenal
A new world is going to be born
A new civilization and way of life
Change for a better world or worse
Time will prove within a few years.
(Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times, Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond, 37)
Having gone through Dominic’s poetry collection Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond (2021), the traced out thing is that he never remained aloof from reflecting the trauma of Covid-19. As a true poet, he has a sonder so he feels it (the sonder).He never seems to be in a state of exulansis. Undoubtedly, this poetry collection vividly reflects the zeitgeist of Covid times not only of India but also of the whole world indirectly. Covid becomes boons as well as banes, banes for those who lost his/her dear ones; his/her riches; and bore its trauma- pangs and pains, and boons for its revolutionary nature of opening the ravening eyes of man to this illusive world. Dominic has chutzpah to hail Covid’s banes in this dolent time. To him, not in vain, its boons are greater than its banes. It is not a wild goose chase for anyone to trace out trauma as touchstone in present collection of Dominic’s poetry. Dominic writes life in poetry. If there is life, trauma will continue to come. It depends on man how he takes trauma—whether he makes it a touchstone to judge his potential within. It lies with him to turn it into boon or bane. Rest lies with Deux de machine i.e. En attendant Godot that cannot be controlled. The plague is within. How to combat is the question. This question is to be answered. The answer lies within man. That answer becomes his touchstone. The above discussion can be concluded with the remark of Albert Camus who writes: “Each of us has the plague within him, no one, no one on the earth is free from it. We must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in a careless moment we breathe in somebody’s face and fasten the infection on him” (252-53).
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Mukhopadhyaya, Ramesh Chandra. “Foreword.” Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond. By K. V. Dominic. Authorspress, 2021, pp. 7-24.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord. “Lotos Eaters.” Poems of Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laurate of England. Illustrated.Bostan:J.E.TiltonAndCompany,1872.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=g9jVPQXMRHOC&pg=pp7&source=kp_read_button&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir_esc=y. Accessed 15 September 2021.
Wordsworth, William. “Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.” Poetical Works of William Wordsworth Together with a Description of the Country of the Lakes in the North of England. Edited by Henry Reed. Janes Kay, Jun. and Brother, 1837. file:///C:/Users/91994/Downloads/ACCESS_GTW_WORDSWORTH.pdf. Accessed 15 September 2021.
Dr. Dharmendra Kumar Singh is working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Maharaja Harishchandra P. G. College Moradabad, affiliated to M. P. J. Rohilkhand University, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India. His areas of specialization include ‘Existentialism and Thomas Hardy’& ‘Existentialism as an Educational Philosophy.’ Creative writing both in Hindi and English is his passioned hobby. His research papers have been published in various regional, national and international journals. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org