Book Name: Karmic Chanting
Poet: Sonnet Mondal
Publisher: Copper Coin (2018)
Book Review by Deeksha Srivastava
Sonnet Mondal’s sixth book ‘Karmic Chanting’ is a sprig of 87 rare verselet.It is a contemporary call for universe in its microscopic and macroscopic form.The bard takes you on an expedition to this surreal world through poems. The Verses of Mondal sooner or later will become a subliminal stimuli to your literary taste buds.A sense of congenial isolation floats in his book.In this bouquet of poems philosophy, literature, art, history, and personal experiences are all ace players, offering both subject matters and shifting paradigms for poetic interrogation.
Whether he’s talking of plastic flowers in his bedroom or ducks dipping their heads in water juxtaposing life with their ephemeral existence on this age old earth, his poetry is a reminiscent of his take on mysticism. Further the title of the book sets the theme.He does not stay in a quandary while speaking of mystical philosophies.He has kept the language lucid and the charm of simplicity works wonder and they assert themselves subtly without knowing.
The first poem gives us a glimpse of tranquil,unruffled Sea.Nature being an absolute seductress leaves him in skepticism as he says‘Dear Nature,I wonder if I should marry you or keep you as an Escort’ in the poem ‘From Tushar’s Apartment’.
But there is no fixed pattern for what comes next.His Poems for example ‘Dadaji’, ‘Grandma’ and ‘Answer Me,Ma’ speak of his eternal and relentless love for his grandparents and Divine.Soon after his imagination rotates anticlockwise and he start to explore outlandish and occult horizons.
Sonnet’s verses are free from geographical disabilities. Strophe to strophe, each poem of the book shifts modes and perspectives to illuminate underlying connections and concerns of malice in the society.
‘Somewhere in your ruins
Hope peeps like a thief
Through the broken tooth
Of a child smiling at a broken tank
You look so lean,Syria
But your history is getting fat.’
Once done with the febrile society he addressed stagnation and disbelief in poems like ‘Haze and High’, ‘Stories Told By Dimness’, ‘The Homeless’, ‘Liberty of Half -Dead Creations’, ‘Teach Me’ and ‘Afloat in Darkness’ are retreat on isolation or meditations.For Example-
‘When I am here
There is a world locked inside me.
And when I am gone
My world would roam the earth’
He catechized life in many instances like in one his poem ‘Who Am I’ he writes ‘My Obsession to know who am I lingers like the Sun setting beneath the wings of vagrant birds emerging from nowhere vanishing into Nowhere’.He has an acumen for turning prosaic day to day happenings to work of genius mysticism.
‘My sorrow looked above towards the skeleton of a dead tree brought to life by fireflies-playing and preying around it’.
Even the collection’s shorter poems are powerful, getting their meanings across in compressed spaces,
‘We were born Artless,but we mastered the art of hating when we felt the need to
Classify tears’ ,the poems’ brevity allows for different interpretations, with lines that are not restricted to single explanations.
‘Earlier ragpickers were reticent or perhaps I am dustbin of riches now.’
These conclusions are thought-provoking. They give a window of opportunity to readers to play with meanings that simultaneously emphasize the collection’s theme.
Striking language choices command attention, arousing intense emotions that accentuate poems, making them impactful and powerful. His lines and his use of white spaces appeal to multiple senses with their powerful imagery.Further as the book progresses lambent rage about life and nostalgia lingers.
‘The urge to live peeping through the edges of emotion flies like an ambitious eagle.’
Such use of metaphors and personification of nature are hard hitters.Boundlessly curious, no subject is off limits for bards like Sonnet to tread.
A wistful mourning for indelible nostalgia connects his readers to their roots.He offers solace through meditative lyric movements.
‘Why does life seem / Like the skyline impression of an aircraft’ –with lines like this this book offers both a verbal universe and a blank canvas to shelf your desire one after another.Once you are done with the arrangements you will end up having a holistic view of life like he said ‘We leap like limping grasshoppers to cross the wall of illusion’.
About the reviewer: Deeksha Srivastava freelances from Allahabad. Her passion includes writing, travelling, and working as a philanthropist for social causes.