Thursday, 26 January 2023

An Anatomy of Silence in K V Dominic’s “Silence! Silence!! Grave Silence!!!” Explication by Dr. Parthajit Ghosh

 

An Anatomy of Silence in K V Dominic’s

“Silence! Silence!! Grave Silence!!!”

Parthajit Ghosh

 

The Poem for Anatomy:

Mansion like house

Doors and windows closed

Past midnight, still lights inside

Sleep fears to enter

Three generations reside

Grandpa reads Bible

Grandma reads Bhagavatam

Grandchildren aged eight and twelve

write never ending homework

Their dad is drowned in Facebook

Mom buried in WhatsApp

No sound from anywhere

Seems like haunted house

Silence, silence, grave silence!

None speaks to none

No common prayers

No common dining

No sharing of ideas

If anyone breaks silence

Comes rebuke at once

“Don’t disturb me”

Goes to bed on one’s own time

What happens in one house

never known to neighbours:

both comedy and tragedy

Isn’t it part of evolution

from social being to antisocial?

(Cataracts of Compassion 59)

 

A Proem to the Poem

This non-metrical but visually a stichic in twenty seven lines, woven into the matrix of a free verse in a very easy constructional pattern with simple coherence and cohesion structure, is a “scriptible” narrative of an evolving suburban society of twenty first century India; which may have an effect of a monologue by the poet on the common readers. The poet in Dominic is found apprehended to the manner of living in his society, a part of which is presented through this poem in the form of storytelling captures a ‘mansion like house’ where ‘three generations reside’ a lifeless or mechanical life. And thus, Dominic posits himself at the place of social reformist thinker a poet, which can better be assessed by the prototype of contextual analysis.

Silence: A Brief Context

Space is not the only void. It is the significant extent for an object to have its relative position and direction. Similarly, silence is not merely the absence of sound; it is sounded to its own significant waves. Silence is spiritually significant. It is such a sublime which can only be attained through pure practice of meditation and through the process of enlightenment. It holds the ambiance to introspect or to communicate with the infinitude. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna himself says: “of secret things I am silence” (Ch. 10, verse 38; Prabhupada 478). In Hinduism, there is a belief system that “it is only in the silence of your mind that you can hear the voice of God. Once that voice is heard, it is again the silence that helps you to enjoy that sound – to relive it again and again in the deepest depths of your inner being” (Kumar, Speakingtree.in). Even Lord Buddha maintained a long silence to get enlightened, who believed: “words end where truth begins”. To the context of silence and Buddha, the spiritual leader, Sri Ravi Shankar has nicely remarked: “The purpose of words is to create silence. If words create more noise, then they have not reached their goal. Buddha’s words would definitely create silence, because Buddha is the manifestation of silence. Silence is the source of life and is the cure for diseases” (Art of Living).Even in the Bible, the Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still and know that I am God.” Silence has thus a great spiritual connection.

Silence has a big space even in literature. Yeats yearns to live into the silence at the Lake Isle of Innisfree from which he claims to have peace: “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow” (“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, Poetry Foundation). Even the great romantic poets like Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly and many others have transcendentalized silence in various significant occasion into their poetry. The metaphysical poet, John Donne craves for silence during love making: “For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love” (“The Canonization”, Poetry Foundation). But, in the literature of the marginalized and the subalterns, ‘silence’ is connoted with fear, suppression and voicelessness. However, “Silence is a tool that has been utilized in literature to heighten emotion, magnify suspense or drama, and let a character grow into their own being” (Das).

Silence has therefore multiple facets. It is spiritually sublime, poetically transcendental or metaphysical; sometimes, it symbolizes fear, suppression and voicelessness.Silence is often the word of protest. Lexically, it is an ambiance of absence of noise or sound. But in this poem, Dominic is in a bad mood to the silence. He intends to break the silence to bridge in human emotion what is laid out in the subsequent discussion.

From Text to Context

If any jargon like short story in poetry exists in literary criticism this poem is then the best example of that. Like a good short story, this poem too is arranged in a sequence of a beginning, middle and end; built up on a unified plot and narrated by the poet himself that resembles the heterodiegetic storytelling technique. The beginning explores the characters like Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, Mom and two children (three generations) in a ‘mansion like house’; the middle portrays their action, their daily habits and their practice of keeping silence to each other; and, the end brings in the poet’s prediction for the impending tragedy on a society evolving towards being ‘antisocial’.

 Silence is, however, personified as an antihero all through the narrative in this poem. The very title which is tangible to the poem and seems to be the beginning line is the repetition of the word, ‘silence’, of course, with an emphasis of negative exclamation. Here, an ambiguity lies in the use of the word ‘grave’ before silence. Is it simply a lexical alternative for ‘serious’ or ‘crucial’ or ‘dangerous’ to personify ‘silence’; or, a desperate attempt to signify silence as death since the word, ‘grave’, is often used as an allusive term for ‘death’? But, irrespective to this ambiguity, the title clearly captures the negative emotion of the poet who refuses silence spoiling the bond in a family.

The family projected in this poem lives in a ‘mansion like house’. The simile of house here implies the snobbery of the affluent class which is addicted to live a life of showing off than the life of necessity. Dominic has, as if, revived the essence of ‘comedy of manners’ to depict the artificial life of a section in his society. A house is a necessity; a ‘mansion like house’ is the pretention of the high economic class to that necessity. On the other hand, this expression, ‘mansion like house’, may be used to juxtapose the contradiction between the wideness of the periphery of the house and the miseries of the people who dwell inside that house completely ignorant or disconnected to each other. Probably, it is a tactful attempt of Dominic to represent the triviality of the material world. No material gain is significant unless it is purposefully utilised.

The first four lines however portray a visual image of a gloomy and ghoulish house where the doors and the windows are closed. The closed ‘doors’ and ‘windows’ here insinuates an extended metaphor linking up various intertextual references. However, ‘Doors’ and ‘windows’ are frequently used as metaphorical elements in the literature dealing with the human body mystery. The nine openings in a human body (the two eyes, two nostrils, mouth, two ears, the anus, and the opening of the generative organ and for urination) are mentioned asnava-dwara-pura (nine doors) in The Bhagavad Gita. The great Bengali mystic poet, Fakir Lalon Shah composes his folk song on the mystery of human body by comparing it with a cage and assuming its structure built with eight cells and nine doors:

How does the strange bird

flit in and out of the cage.

If I could catch the bird

I would put it under the fetters of my heart.

The cage has eight cells and nine doors

with latticed openings here and there,

Above it is the main hall

with a mirror-chamber? (Songs of Lalon Shah 36)

If Dominic’s this ‘mansion like house’ is perceived as a human body then also it is a dead body, a morbid land what Dominic himself confirms by saying it as ‘haunted house’. The openings in a human body are the means of input and output of the body; the body is alive till the openings are open or functioning properly. Doors and windows are the means of exit and entrance. The closed doors and windows here highlight the detached, stagnant and decaying life of the people in this house where sleep fears to enter till mid night. ‘Sleep’ is here personified to show the restlessness of the residents of the house for almost no significant reason.

The subsequent lines till the last five ones capture the three generation residing under the same roof without the subtle bond of living. They are so self-engrossed that they do not have any common space, any common prayers, any common delicacies to enjoy and any thoughts to share.  

Keeping silence to each other is here the only rule of living what is not at all a bliss. Dominic has drawn three devastated generations. The childhood does not have any space; it is under the threat of ‘never ending homework’. The parenthood is under the threat of social media addiction and the grandparenthood under the search of religious knowledge. Although the characters in this poem narrative are ignorant and less sensitive to their family members Dominic holds the continuum approach in portraying them. Among the growing nuclear family culture in India this family in Dominic’s poem is an exception where three generation at least reside under the same roof. Dominic is an Indian poet who has written this poem at such a time when religious nationalism heads up into the narrative of power politics. But, Dominic has discreetly built up a secular ambience through the grandfather reading Bible and grandmother reading Bhagavatam. The poet has made a balance in characterization; and thus, has made his poetic intention loud and clear.

            Dominic passes his own judgement through the concluding five lines of this poem. He finds it comic the way of living as depicted in this poem and this erroneous habit will surely bring tragedy in their life. The transition of human life from animal to the civilized one is the matter of huge evolution through the centuries. This hard earned human civilization can only be sustained through the best practices of being human with the feelings of community culture, empathy, sensitivity, caring, compassion, kindness, sacrifice and many more such positive attributes. The way of living depicted in this poem is the threat to those basic human attributes; and therefore, the poet apprehends for a sure downfall in civilized culture. The poet concludes with a question to his fellow beings to analyse; and thus, warns them for an impending disaster from the unexpected evolution ‘from social being to antisocial’, from human to inhuman, from the light to the darkness. 

A Portrayal of Social Crisis

A house of four walls does not make a home. A house becomes a home in love, care and affection of the people who reside in. A healthy home is important for a healthy human society. The way of living captured in this poem is definitely a threat to the man as social being in the pursuit of the sustainability of hard earned human civilization. The technological advancement may replace many manual efforts but not the human emotions. It is human emotion and dialogue which makes human a social being. In the absence of the practice of which the man as social being turns into antisocial. Dominic has entered the epicenter of the crisis by depicting a family practicing silence for no significant reason, and thus, damaging the family bond. A damaged relationship in a family is the bigger cause of crisis in a society since home is the breeding ground of sociality.

Dominic tries to put an emphasis on the issue of generation gap, one of the major social crises today. In this age of rat race, all are running behind but reaching nowhere. People are so busy that they don’t have any family time. If the family time is compromised there will definitely be a lack of understanding among the persons in a family. This lack of understanding indulges man being nonreciprocal, insensitive, disrespectful, and most importantly, inhumane. A society collapses when a domestic ambience of a house is damaged by such practice of living. Dominic magnifies the issue through his poetic observation to warn his fellow beings.

Dominic’s Attempt in Breaking Silence

A wizard can foresee the future; a doctor can save life with his medical knowledge; a scientist can discover something to solve problems in his society; likewise, every professional does for one’s society as per one’s expertise and acquired skills. Dominic is skilled in poetry and his purpose of writing is the weal from the crisis in his society. Through his fine observation, he captures a part (a family) to replicate the bigger issues like growing damaged family relationship and its consequence, generation gap, indulgence of stand-offish nature and more a like fretting malignantly in his society. It is said that ‘charity begins at home’. A bigger social change starts at the threshold of a little family. The last two lines of this poem are just clear enough to understand Dominic’s endeavour for bringing change in perception.

If this poem is symbolically interpreted, then also, Dominic is found significant in advocating for religious harmony in his nation. ‘Themansion like house’ symbolizes Dominic’s country, India; the characters in this poem are the different cultural provinces of the country; the context of reading Bible and Bhagavatam is the indication of different religious practices in the country; whereas, ‘silence’ stands for the lack of interreligious talk for national integrity and cultural prosperity. The act of silence is the act of practicing hatred and anger for each other. Dominic probably attempts to break that silence for a peaceful and an integrated nation.

An Extractive

Dominic tries to find out rational solution of problem in his society through this simple poem narrative. If the great romantics find solution in ‘back to nature’, Dominic’s call definitely be then ‘back to humanity’. This poem in free verse is undoubtedly a piece of art by a postmodern humanist in Dominic who is very sincere and careful about his society and has consciously played his role by showing his concerns for the impending tragedy on a society evolving towards being ‘antisocial’. This poem can set the best canonical relevance with the studies like Posthumanism and Anthropocentrism with an undercurrent of the poet’s urge for a humanitarian society. If poetry preserves power this poem is definitely then an embedding vector into the hearts of introspective readers.

 

Works Cited

Das, Dee. “Words Left Unsaid: The Role of Silence in Literary Fiction.” BOOK RIOT, 28 Jan. 2022, https://bookriot.com/silence-in-literary-fiction/#:~:text=Silence%20is%20a%20tool%20that,a%20thousand%20words%20ever%20can.

Dominic, K. V. “Silence! Silence!! Grave Silence!!!” in Cataracts of Compassion. By Dominic. Authorspress, 2018, p. 59.

Donne, John. “The Canonization.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44097/the-canonization.

Kumar, Vivek. “Some Loud Thoughts about Silence.” Speakingtree.in, https://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/some-loud-thoughts-about-silence.

Prabhupada, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. Bhagavad Gita. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, rpt. 2016.

“Psalm 46.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/ot/ps/46?lang=eng.

Rushd, Abu. Songs of Lalon Shah. Bangla Academy Dhaka, 1990.

Shankar, Ravi. “Buddha Is the Manifestation of Silence.” Art of Living, https://wisdom.srisriravishankar.org/buddha-is-the-manifestation-of-silence/.

Yeats, William Butler. “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43281/the-lake-isle-of-innisfree.

 

Dr. Parthajit Ghosh teaches English at a government school in the State of Chhattisgarh for living. He is passionate for Indian English Poetry. He tries to contribute in that field with his research works and writings. His poems and research articles have been featured in various national and international series and numbers. He believes in poetry which speaks for cure, love and peace. He is a review editor of both Writers Editors Critics (WEC) & International Journal on Multicultural Literature (IJML). Email: parthajitg@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                

Monday, 11 July 2022

K V Dominic's Malayalam Short Story book 'Aaraanu Utharavaadi?'

K V Dominic's maiden collection of short stories 'Aaraanu Utharavaadi' is published by Authors 


 

K V Dominic's Musings on Covid Pandemic and Beyond (Collection of Poems)

 


This is Dr. K. V. Dominic’s 7th poetry collection in English. Out of the 43 poems in this book 9 are on Covid pandemic. The first poem “Coronavirus, Mightiest Wizard of All Times” runs to twenty sections. The themes and topics of the rest of the poems are as various as Nature, environment, animals, plight of farmers, sex workers, slum dwellers, karma, religion, tributes, elegies, social criticism, etc. As Dr. Ramesh Chandra Mukhopadhyaya states in his foreword to the book, “K. V. Dominic, shut up in Kerala, sings hymns unbidden hiding in the privacy of the glorious light of compassion till the world is wrought to sympathy with hopes and fears it hidden not. And it appears that the main theme of poetry in this volume is nostalgia or homesickness.” The book is published by Authorspress, New Delhi is 2011.

The book is available though amazon. The link is:

https://www.amazon.in/Musings-Covid-Pandemic-Beyond-Dominic/dp/B092SNCZLN



K V DOMINIC'S MALAYALAM COLLECTION OF POEMS 'EZHUTHOO MAKANE, EZHUTHOO'

 


Ezhuthoo Makane Ezhuthoo is K V Dominic's maiden collection of Malayalam poems, published by Authorspess, New Delhi in 2022. Selected 76 poems from various English poetry books of K V Dominic are translated by Shri. Madhu S. The book is available though Amazon. The link is given below:

https://www.amazon.in/Ezhuthoo-Makane-Selected-Malayalam-Translation/dp/B09N7SYNS1/ref=sr_1_24?crid=1FGHMIGR7PRX5&keywords=kv+dominic%27s+books&qid=1657606127&s=books&sprefix=k+v+dominic+s+books%2Cstripbooks%2C227&sr=1-24


Late Stephen Gill's Selected Sufi Sonnets and Poems on Stephen Gill

 

Stephen Gill's Sufi Sonnets

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnets are his swan songs. He has been publishing these sonnets one after another through his Face Book when the Almighty called him back. In his website www.stephengill.ca he had listed it as a book entitled “Seventy Seven Sufi Sonnets of Stephen Gill” but unfortunately it is not downloaded now and shows that the page doesn’t exist. As a close friend and fan of Stephen Gill I have been going through his Face Book posts, particularly these Sufi Sonnets, and commenting on them. I have copied some 19 sonnets from the Face Book pages and they are posted below: (K V Dominic, editor)

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 58

I had planted blessings when I seeded the maple of our love. Someone appeared to confirm its syrup is unprocessed nectar from the mother if you would handle the plant with care closing the door of selfhood that brings skies to earth cementing the link of friendship. Also it is the sun that gives light to walk your talk and embrace strengths. As a heroic diet its sap nourishes to remain cheerful. The psalms in the leaves of its tree hide the secrets of the peace to share that lets life thrive. Its taste keeps dreams sweeter and more alive.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 57

The grapevine with unleavened bread of new Passover spurs me to chariot the golden bough of the first gleam of freedom from our acutest pain. Yawns after the peaceful yawns I lay in intense passion in the lawn lined with the oldest olive trees. You are my love for the garden that buzzes with apostolic bees and my esteem that is the softness of sweating and supremacy of the seas. Secured within cloistered walls away from prosaic ploys I sip from the cup that restores our fellowship. Under the covenant of my dining hall now crafty reptiles shall never crawl.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 56

I garden to offer fresh roses to you. As I rightfully water their fragrant spell radiates me and the obvious appearance of their unrivalled beauty brightens me. I grab sticking thorns becoming their fallen petals living and dying for you. The dignity of their soothing hue is my mastering mania and their sunny sight lighten when I write. They make me sing and cry. To humble my pride their energizing gaze enters into animated dialogue as a saint or a sage. In the pagoda of truth and faith you are the bounty of the bride at best, blessed and benign.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 55

Crazed creatures of dark delights have chased our dove to a distant land where they choke her songs by the strings of paralyzing fear in the wilderness of their illusive sphere. On their sand the blind brutes write macabre laws whose spectre stalks here. Its teeth mangles the serene sparrow of my higher self. Let us pass this evening listening to a nocturnal crescendo from the bird not afar. In the silken cocoon of your touch my innate flair shall easily thrive. Our love shall become the pulse of my new rhythm in the night as the time idly flies.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 54

No bird or butterfly. Flowers lack fortitude to fragrance the grass. Dry willows remain tied to their roots fearing what nature safely plies to finish her function. The forces of rain have absolutely failed to abate the memories of our ambles. Brutal gusts are shaking trees but our bond is the unshakable lea where the pelican wings rest in peace. In the album of days my lyrics on your unfailing solace shall survive. I wait for your mighty return with the tears of anticipation that make me utterly alive. To suffuse fully in you I stay for that mighty sight.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 53

The night’s yard, where a nerve-wrecking fog has weakened my vision, stabs my tingling calves. Raising head I often clash with walls. Broken and bruised I blink at the half barren branches where the silence of the solemnity reigns. The light on the road asks who owns this house muddied with madness? I notice eerie emptiness above the front door of my failing love. I turn slowly to sundry rooms, drifting dreamily thinking of your triumphant return. I carry hurts mostly from the dirt of lies. I cannot borrow your breeding, even buy, though hope ascends for despair to die.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 52

My passion in my literary bents batters winter’s blind brutes to cherish fidelity for you. It stems invisible tears, not because daffodils die but is the sun that shakes the pieces of familiar mist to easily see you. My passion is the wind that burbles as my non-delusive peace that is the diamond under compression to foster perfection. It structures the tower of trust in our meaty toughest tie. Out of the musty rooms of the fables it watches how the leaves brush ripples as people walk by. My strongest ultimate ally it is born to live, not to lie.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 51

The arms of the Ambika and the paradise of my euphony you respire properly on pearls and pure milk of my art. Your motherhood encourages me to relax in the invincible summer of the seaside resort within me. My love grows boundless when you are with children in the swings and the birds trilling along the calm river that waters the plant of my pervasive energy. I salute when I sight you. Your culture of action taps my sources for rejuvenation to let my stress go. In the unclouded zone of Canada geese you reign as elevated soul of peace.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 50

Out of the cage of dark drudgery I wander along the bank starving for your presence. Waves play the rhythm of every rainbow of my persistent prophecies and the perennial memory of the portraits of our perfect ecstasies. I remember the relic in the cellar of the time where our love lives with deserving honor and thrill. The river’s closely embracing whispers sincerely stage our story. The sound of Shankha from the shore asks me to fill the emblem of rituals with the sandle-paste of your smiles. In the longest thick weary night you are my untamed desire of delight.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 49

You enliven the larks on the sloppy lawn where they run making lisping notes. I see you jogging slow and fast on the narrow windy path along St. Lawrence where your dignity moulds the Maple leaves. You appear behind the bridge as adornment of majesty in orange and yellow images. Also in the air that casts off the weariness of the aged sages. You are the honk of the geese and the goal of the balm I spread through my psalms. With the stunning sepals of the tulips I exalt you in the luster of stars doing my daily task.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 48

I see our love flowing effortlessly as a waft with the drifts of freedom, fusing with the effulgence of the vastness. In the night of my ceaseless voyage you shall remain my ultimate aim. It is pleasing to add and know you are my abiding flame. The Laurentian vista is your glimmer in the waves. I celebrate heaven on earth in a richer way my gem to show there is nothing we cannot together grow. For my longing to receive energy I rely on the roots of your liturgy. You accompany my sacred sail to provide through the wandering gale.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 47

Night knocks noisily at the door when I hear the rattle of volcanic fury from the traders of terror. They shape with inhuman creeds strangely structured maniac beings while our seraphs securely sleep on the roofs of snobbish breed. Sweetest is the bread that tastes the days of the comforting peace. With the hunger that nourishes sincerity in love I wait for your return on a stallion to address my concerns. Because of the frightening beast I swap the days of my ease singing sagacious psalms for you. For me, a nomad in fields, you own all what I need.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 46

As the daybreak drinks the wild air caressing delicate flowers with care I espouse my thoughts for you. In my innovative simple songs they meander as streams with the waves of no pains which merge travelling by meadows. I gyrate within to marry your true lime-laden name thirsting for its inner calling that flows the inspirational symphony of diamond painted waterfalls. In the haven of our mystical love fresh buds abundantly blossom into deathless tunes of the blessed dove. I see you elating in ravishing aroma. While you frisk in woods and plains I hear your whispers here in rains.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 45

I relax with no special thoughts along Saint Lawrence River where I hear stunning coos which remind mystically of you. I sleep peacefully on the moon with my sight on stars. They are not vague though afar. When they go I will see them once more like you, I know. They are camps in the hive that give reasons to be alive as I do for you. You stay in the nest of my safest hope that I keep in the cave of my passion and trust. It energizes my open approach to see you even with my eyes closed.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 44

The hermitage where I blandly burn to radiate your light is coming to a fuller life. The bird on its roof sings to celebrate my faith in euphony, while with a harp in hands the wind softens the rudeness of my personal melancholies. At the Autumn’s cozy cottage that can be passed unnoticed, I stand with a tornado in my pot to run miles before the candle fazes out. You are the wailing of the mother who is gifted with unshed tears to give hope. The upper pivot of my pride; you prime me to win my unceasing sacred fight.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 43

Meet me often when the moon is guiding birds with silver light in the dark night and flowing waters confide with the infinity of wonders. The bathing pebbles shall narrate our undying courtship and town flippant laughs. Authenticity shall not drift even if the coldest draft hits. Shame is just a name and falter ferocious foe. It is neither I nor the ink this poet needs to paint his unclouded creative vision fears the gust and dew. The stunning lily of our oneness shall always grow joyful and new. Our bond is the unspoken ocean between coasts to share unfrozen.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 42

Your concerns like that of the mother untangles my irrational knots when I host the saddest thoughts walking along St. Lawrence bank. I see the sun rotating blissfully on the tourist boats. My fascination begins to glow when I see you whirling like planets in these merging ripples. I ask to tell me how in peace they flow. It is your lyrical face in their rhythm which I am committed to show. You are the lure of their pebbled shore that for me grow before their spell plans to go. My loving tide, you’re the veil of a blessed bride.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 41

You are the galaxy of the sober sky that has planted its presence in the rapturous Saint Lawrence River. Canada geese sing of their extended ties in the arms of its unruffled waters chatting as free tides whose culture of the Beaver vivify the energy we solidify. When I look at the trees I think of your radiant warmth that asks me to dance. The pattern of their shadows so revived, comforting and alive, are the pristine purity of your undiluted regimes where beauty burst through seams. Every leaf of the Maple talks of the pleasing tapestry of our walks.

 

Stephen Gill’s Sufi Sonnet 40

When I am filled with futilities you fix up festive feasts to feed me with spices to spark the creativity of my inner sanctuary. For my compelling hunger you genially grow cabalistically the microbes of the ravishing radiance with musty flavour. What is the best in your bewilderment becomes the brightness of my bloom. I give you my sweetest tribute through the senses of the grasp as you sharpen my artistic skills to bring out the god within me. With glee and without fear you bring order that is fair and honest. The unhackneyed cadence you are my supernal sonnet.

 

 

Poems about Stephen Gill

 

 

 A Prophet Comes to Texas   

(The prophet referred to is Stephen Gill, who made a Literary Tour to Texas (USA) in 1990 to share his poems and philosophy of peace.)  

 

He came among us, wearing a red maple leaf, whispering, 

"Peace." 

 

His feet stepped gently on Texas soil,                                  disturbing weeds of complacency.                                  His eyes probed hearts.                                                 His lips spoke softly, 

"Become disciples, 

Children of Peace." 

 

Some closed their minds,                                                                          their ears. 

Fanatic! An Idealist, they called him. 

Others opened their eyes and received                                           a vision of what was, what is, and what could be.                            

 With the vision came a warning

of what might be. 

 

We cringed before signs of annihilation                              and cried out to silver wing                                                that lifted him  

above the clouds,                                                                                                                                     

"Peace." 

---Bobbie Alice Drake

 

Bobbie Alice Drake from the United States writes mostly anti-war poems.  She is a columnist for newspapers, and has authored two collections of poems.  

 

 Angel

I wish I could                                                                       send you an angel                                                                 to give strength to bring hope,                                   confidence, tranquillity                                                        an angel no one will notice                                                     but you –                                                                        faster than sound                                                          brighter than light                                                             softer than touch                                                                 but touching you with warmth                                            you feel is real deep                                                        down inside.

--Frank Joussen

 

Frank Joussen has authored three collections of poems. He is a teacher of English literature in Germany, where he was born and brought up.  

 

Peace     

When Stephen Gill holds 

a candle of hope                                                                          providing a blueprint for life  in his psalms                          

a dove begins to fly.   

 

When he implores in his poems 

to hold hands together 

against restless,                                                                                                                                                                  wayward minds  

of fanatics and nations 

and  rolling tanks misfire,                                                         the sage in him stands up                                                      with unshakable confidence  to announce 

Shanti, shanty, shanty Om. 

---Jaydeep Sarangi 

  

 Prof. Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi is a bilingual poet and critic. He is a professor of English and principal at New Alipore College, Kolkata. He is also the President of Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics (GIEWEC).

 

Ravnas of Today                                                                                    

(On Stephen Gill’s modern epic The Flame )

When I read 

Children disappearing inside the blackness 

Limbs scattered 

And mothers crying 

Every speck of me                                                        Falls apart. 

  

Maniac messiahs 

Play diatribe songs 

On an impaired piano                                                                             Of their design. 

The abrupt harshness 

Of their discordant sounds                                                                      Come from the notes of reason. 

 

These Ravanas and Kamsas 

Pollute the air of serenity. 

The arrows of their insanity                                                                     End in the emptiness                                                                        Of the nadir of frustration. 

The flame keeps giving warmth

From its spring of purity.

 

Where is the daybreak 

of the source 

that ends the melodrama

of the dark force

I simply ask. 

-- Anuradha Sharma 

 

Anuradha Madan Sharma is Associate Professor of English at Navjivan Arts and Commerce College, Dahod, Gujarat, India.

 

The Sun  

This sun is no other than Stephen Gill 

A prime Poet Laureate—

A learned navigator 

For budding poets and writers.  

They will be thankful to Divinity   

For awarding them                                                       A friendly, humble guide. 

   

The radiance of this sun                                                         Dwindles away their fears.  

They emanate now boldly  

Like the radiant stars in the sky---                                                       A new vista is taking shape. 

-- A. S. Bannore  

A. S. Bannore from Vadodara, Gujarat, India, has authored  collections of poems. She is a teacher by profession. 

 

Catharsis  

Bang, bang—

a devil at the door drops 

the beads of my brooding on the floor.                                                            Alone to stare and ponder                                                         with uneasy thoughts I notice                                                        no being and no stars in the sky                                                          in the space of the gloomy night. 

 

The dim comforting light whispers gently:                                                           Fear....                                                                                                      yes it’s the fear that your poet Stephen Gill holds, hugs closely and drones--                                                                          it is a jolt that he owns.    

 

He has lost his land                                                         but not the sky. 

He shall continue purging emotions                                                 with his primal expressions.                                                                His words weep in solitude                                                               on the mount of artists.                                                                           It is brutal, a painful process  

to produce pity                                                          and reposing Catharsis. 

-- K. Satyamurty 

  

K. Satyamurty, a translator, has post graduate degrees in Ancient Indian History,   Culture and Archaeology; and also in English Literature--both  from different   universities of India.  He has doctorate on Stephen Gill. 

 

A Universalist   

The Creator of the universe                                                                 has given great and generous men

to serve with compassion and diligence.

Stephen Gill is among them.

An Indian by birth,

Ethiopian next, English later, 

a Canadian now                                                                    breathes in the panorama of the ambition                                               of his literary creeds. 

 

A cosmopolitan poet of vision                                                      for which he has toiled to provide a blueprint to live. Voracious reader, skilled writer,                                               teacher tenacious intellectual, weighty,                                       a profound thinker

whose poetry and prose                                                         reveal veritably of his beliefs.

 

Stephen is not a Trishanku.                                                             Peace is the child of freedom and for all justice                            

this poet often repeats them                                                        using as his living rosary.                                                        Stephen Gill, a cherished son of the universe,                              

is today’s conscious.  

Global harmony and social concerns                                                      form the pillars of his poetry. 

-- N V Subbaraman

 

N V Subbaraman writes in English and Tamil and edits  YOUNG POET-- an English poetry e-journal  and a monthly  journal IMPACT. He has authored more than 30 books and has a  number of awards to his credit.  

 

 

Stephen Gill: The Bard

 

Like a meteor he rose

Across the blue sky

To rekindle faith in humanity

That’s now grown wild

 

The Partition tore his soul

The massacres his spirit

The symphony of life

Blew out his candle

 

Yet, following the path of Ahimsa

An apostle of peace he becomes

Turning over the pages of history

He pleads for nations to be one

 

A simple bard he rose unnoticed

Armed with his dove of peace

An olive branch he holds with ease

For all to heal and repose

 

The terrorist mania

Stretches wild

As do the war clouds loom

He pleads to halt the envious race

To loot and destroy the roots

 

A righteous man

God fearing to the core

He seeks to unite divided nations

On creeds of love and peace

 

He warns the erring nations

Politicians shrewd and crude

Who burn both ends of candle tips

To rule and divide the ‘brood’

 

 

Nations divided cannot subsist

On ideals corrupt and hide

The pain that tortures one and all

And so the Apostle strides

 

Onward, onward he marches along

The path of Live and Let Live

Undaunted he kindles the spirit of love

Though the world listens to him not

 

He dreads the decay of conscience

In men who hunger for blood

Maniac Messiahs he calls them

Craving like vampires for human blood

 

God grant him a peaceful life

For the peaceful pledges he instils

In every human heart he plants

The wish to Live and Let Live

 

-- Shobha Diwakar 

 

For the Apostle of Peace


You struggled alone
Walking on the path of righteousness
Un deterred,

The path was rough and pebbled
Under the star studded sky
The sky that once bloomed
Tucking myriads of planets
By its side

This war torn world
Has stolen its glory
Shrouding it with dirty fumes
To loot and consume

Hitlers’ everywhere do hunger
To covet and destroy
To conquer and ruin the world
Their might crosses the tide

Amidst the rage to rule and divide
Terrorists claim the feat
Morals lost, conscience dead
No time to heal and reprieve

A ray of sunshine
A ray of hope
Shines through the cracks insight
As a prophet rises steadily
To light the path bright

A humble humanitarian he
Rises above the raging tide
Perceiving disasters all around
Prays for this tide to subside


-- Shobha Diwakar 

 

Stephen Gill’s Agony  

Fire ignited his soul                                                                          while inhumanity crushed him                                                        tearing him entirely.                                                                                                                                                                        He rushed place to place                                                                                when hideous sights followed him.                                                Oceans could not quench his thirst                                                       as flames kept enveloping his life                                                        like the ever flowing tide. 

 

This India-born visionary                                                                             self-proclaimed world citizen                                                                                                                                                    settled in Canada.                                                                                    A renowned poet of love                                                                      agonised by the heinous criminals                                                               was robbed of innocent childhood                                                                  in his motherland, the symbol of dreams.                                                   His struggle to promote co-existence 

to end religious strife went unnoticed. 

 

He inks the dove  

with the maple of his pen. 

The whispers of the Muse  could not help him to rescue humanity

from the grasp of chaos. 

His philosophical eyes  see beyond the clouded horizon.

Finds animosities diverting economy                                                  to the factories of armaments                                                                  to defend imaginary boundaries.  

He urges to stop bombing cities                                                        

that leaves mutilated bodies.                                                                             

He implores to bathe in harmony. 

His watchword is for the flowers of peace                                                          to fill the landscape with beauties. 

 

-- Shobha Diwakar 

A prominent poet and literary critic Dr. Shobha Diwakar is  a  Retired Head, Dept. of English, C P Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. 

A Song for Stephen Gill

 

Stephen lives and loves

Serenity and peace

Live and let live in his genes.

 

For humanity and humankind

His heart cries for compassion

To unite the world is his passion.

 

The smile of love and peace

His heart wishes on every face

Carrying a burden with wonder of grace.

 

He contemplates and writes 

His pen always glorifies

The religion that teaches not to fight.

 

His writings bear a meaningful mark 

O the people of nations

Read Gill to heal the vision dark.

--Aksa Rao

Dr. Aksa Rao works as head of the department of English at Bishnah College, Jammu, India.

 

Dear Mr. Gill


Dear Mr. Gill

You came from heaven

To pour melodies

Mellowed with mellifluous message

Brewed with manna

That strikes a note

That drowns dissension

And the world will be dank with

Love and compassion

Deepest regards to you

--Ramesh Chandra Mukhopadhyaya

Dr. Ramesh Chandra Mukhopadhyaya, M A (Triple), M Phil, PhD, is a retired college teacher from Belur Math, Howrah, West Bengal. A Bilingual writer (English and Bengali), he has been writing on different subjects for the last thirty years.

 

In Memory of Stephen Gill

God sent a white dove with long feathers on head

Flew over the world cooing mantras of peace

Reminded human beings futility of war

How millions of innocent children, women

farmers, labourers, animals and plants

lose their lives through devastating bombings

It flew to war torn areas where 

‘maniac messiahs’ danced in ecstasy

over corpses of innocent masses.

Having failed in His mission

God called it back on 4th April 2022

--K. V. Dominic, Editor IJML