POEMS: 4.5/5 THEME: 4/5 RHYTHM AND RELATABILITY: 4.5/5 OVERALL: 4.5/5
“love in the twilight
sun and moon exchanging a glance,
feeling for their aching heart
longing to meet again in the dawn”
– Ramachandran Rajasekharan, Dewdrop and Banyan Tree
It’s been quite a while since I last picked up a poetry book. Though I quite enjoy reading poetry, I often lament that I don’t read them as much as I would like to. So, with that thought in mind, I recently picked up Ramachandran Rajasekharan’s Dewdrop and Banyan Tree.
Honest bookworm confession – this book had my heart from the very beginning, for its cover features two of my most favourite things – greenery and rain. One look at the cover, and the reader in me, was bubbling with anticipation. The blurb at the back also reinforces the same, reminding one of the simple things in life – happy childhood days, sweet joys, the beauty of nature, memories, and nostalgia.
A beautiful intro
A short, poignant, and thoughtful foreword gives us an introduction to poetry as a genre of creative expression. It speaks of how poetry is the ‘crown of literature’, and how famous poets (Eliot, Gray, etc) have been found to describe it. It also gives us a short but fitting intro of the poet, talking about his background, both personal and professional.
Off to an auspicious start
The collection begins with a poem about Shri Krishna, his adorable mannerisms, his divine acts, and unparalleled charisma. The poet lovingly dedicates the poem to his mother, who was an ardent devotee of the Lord. The second poem too, which lends its name to the collection, has the influence of his mother and is a theme adaptation of a poem in Malayalam written by his mother.
Not just this one, but there are other poems too that have been adopted in theme from his mother’s writings.
The small joys of life
I love how so many poems in the collection talk of the little joys of life. A poem that goes by the same title enlists these little wonders – early morning walks, rising morning sun, dripping dew drops, the symphony of birds. While some others talk of colourful flowers, fluttering butterflies, squirrels, colourful flowers, etc.
Lends voice to those without
I also love how the poet lends voice to those without. He gives voice to those who, in the mighty corridors of powerful and greedy men, have no voice, no representation, of their own. The poet feels for them, as one would feel for his own brood, his own blood. And that to me, is a wonderful thing.
Stop, pause, and reflect
I love how the poet derives happiness from the simplest of things. Through his transcendent words, he reminds up to pause, reflect, and appreciate the life that we have got. In this particular aspect, his poems reflect a kind of wisdom that can only emerge from experience and the gift of hindsight. Such is the depth of his profound thoughts, that they can only be fathomed by those gifted with a ponderous mind.
“we have nothing to lose except our lost lives.”
While some poems may find him lamenting the various things that are wrong with the world that we live in, some others are replete with lessons that he learned early in life. A few poems are full of joy while the others reverberate with sadness, while some others ask important and urgent questions, especially with respect to nature, progress, development, and sustainability.
“Is the measure of growth,
The slow death of nature?”
While one poem questions the kind of future we are leaving behind for our future generations, another one talks of living a life that is rich in experience despite the limited means at our disposal. In the latter half, some poems talk of his time during the covid, his experience, his illness, hope, and fight, while the last one describes his poetic endeavors.
My personal favourite
“Tired after sixty years, back to quietude
of the good old mango tree.
Old friend, can I sit here?
to search the attic of mind;
for memories buried there”
One of the simplest yet most profound poems, also one of my personal favourite from the collection succinctly captures the cycle of life – from childhood to adulthood to old age. The childhood, pure, carefree, adventurous, finds bliss in simple things like raw green mangoes, consumed in carefree abundance, often complemented with chilly or salt. But once adulthood sets in, it sees us going away from the very things that once gave us unparalleled joy. Finally, after retirement, one is back to the dependable companionship of the good old mango tree, or to those very things that we left behind.
In the end
In the end, Dewdrop and Banyan Tree is a beautiful collection that reflects the simplest of joys, the beauty of experiences, memories, and nostalgia, and rich life that doesn’t have to depend on money to be successful. It is a deeply insightful and profound collection, that I would certainly recommend to all lovers of poetry.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Dewdrop and Banyan Tree using the link below.