BY SHAFI SHAUQ
It sounds oxymoronic to comment on a book that claims to be an expression of very personal pain, anguish, and suffering of its author-poet; the word “my”, emphasised twice in the title excludes all attempts of readers to intrude.
It is, at the same time, the strength of the poems in the collection that breaks all the confinements of ownership or authorship, go inside its contents to find his/her correspondences here and there.
When emotion is intensely personalised, it becomes universal, so is the case with the book under consideration.
Like a true crypto-theistic existentialist, Rafiq Mas’oodi explores the transcendent within himself, thus achieving a sort of inner-worldly mysticism.
These candles are perhaps
or, they have grown old
They shiver during the night
They will not radiate this room
Will some sun come
for a night
Many ailments would be cured. (p.61)
It is the concern about the sickness of the reality that circumscribes Rafiq Mas’oodi’s consciousness that is internalised to become a tragic sense of life that he reflects in various situation and moments of crises. The poet’s most primitive and unavoidable onus is in finding correspondence of his fleeting feelings.
Man’s distinctive nature among all other animate things is that he is a feeling animal while being homo-rationale. It is this very faculty that gets epitomised in good poetry.
Faculty of finding and presenting correspondences of feelings is the poet’s energy, and fortunately, the translator of the poems, Prof. Mohammad Aslam, too has succeeded in finding verbal structure of the feelings in English – far different and away from the Kashmiri language and the speakers of the language. The whole text reads like original in finding stimulating counterparts in the alien language.
in this room are naked
when they all
know each other
when all have sworn
not to put on clothes
why they feel shy?
Why doesn’t somebody get up
and burn a candle?
( Nyathi Neny : Naked. p 55)
Almost all the poems in the collection are passionate concern for the loss and fleeting away that are dear to the poet. He has no claim of traversing the transcendental world; he lives in this material world, the part of the world called Kashmir.
He grieves at the fast disappearance of what once was the pride of the people, the vintage of being Kashmiri rooted in the soil of spiritualism, faith, fellow-feeling, and, above all, respect for others’ living.
This is our immediate ambience that determines our individual as well as collective ‘pain and affliction’. To recall Rainer Maria Rilke:
Here is the time for the Tellable, here is its home.
Speak and proclaim.
More than ever the things we can live with are falling away, and their place
being oustingly taken up by an imageless act.
(The Ninth Elegy)
And Rafiq Masoodi senses the process of ousting in all villages and so called towns of Kashmir. Here is an illustration:
My village had in one corner
only a few graves it had,
only a few houses it contained
My village also progressed
Houses reached up to the grave yard
Graveyard slowly reached
Doorsteps of every house.
(gaam ti qabristaan/ Village and Graveyard. p 35)
The sixty-two short poems, comprising 2400 word spread over 73 pages are all concretion of the feeling of evanescence and loneliness – the inevitable destiny of a sensitive mind:
Alone I remain at home alone
I stay outside
in every fair at the shrine
in this city...in that village
everywhere emptiness chases me
in my heart a long ... huge sea I have
I fill this sea of emptiness
with wishes,with dreams, with friends
However squeezed I try to make it
It increases much
this emptiness of mine
(yi myoo tsharer/ Mine Emptiness. p.73)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.