“Surfaces of things / Willfully arranged to center me”
Says an innocuous line from Anand Thakore’s poem ‘Glacier’. I think it is an apt way to describe the human self. Though the poem bends in other directions, I would like to read in these lines a commentary on the way human life is ‘placed’ by things. The poem too accumulates several things in its movement. The idea that human life is entirely given to things, that it is the place of things that really direct human existence, is quite strongly brought out in the above quoted lines of the poem.
Anand writes poems which are dense in the way things are touched, caressed with words. It is always that the ‘he’ ‘she’ or ‘I’ of the poems are surrounded by things in his poems. In this respect his ‘Sequence addressed to hanging objects’ is very interesting.
Anand Thakore is a Bombay poet. That is the things of Bombay make him for me in his poems. He is a singer among other things and a passionate poet. Very alert to the craft of writing poems, very alive to the life of words in poems, very keen to the music of the lines, Anand writes like only a musician or a painter can. Many poets push the words for their ideas, some for its sound. Mahapatra is like that: he gives importance to sound.
For Anand craft is all. His poems display a desire to exhibit virtuosity. Wherever it clicks the poem becomes masterly. How many Indian poets have tried villanelle for example? Anand manages it very well in ‘Vacillations of a recondite nudist’ and two other poems. Apart from Keki Daruwala not too many Indian poets have tried dramatic monologue. Anand has a Mahabharata series which are dramatic monologues. A Ghazal? That too. Very few Indian poets writing in English try ghazal form, fewer still succeed. Anand wins over here, even if you are an aficionado of Urdu ghazals. You keep coming across such fetes by him which makes you get more and more interested in reading him on. Anand’s eager explorations of poetic forms reveals his desire to hone his pen as a crafty one. He is a stylist.
Some arresting lines from his collection Elephant Bathing
Rain poured in torrents when I reached the grounds…
Like a great hurt beast no will could tame. (Dead, at your mother’s funeral)
He is published by Harbor Line, Bombay. Here is the Ghazal:
Shall I hold my tongue, lord, or call tonight?
Contain myself, or start another brawl tonight?
My dead mentor returns. Shall I silence him with words,
Or wrap his image in a shawl tonight?
I am lured by the dark I longed to outgrow.
I long to crawl back into that caul tonight;
And the words of the saints fade like bad dreams.
Their voices will not fill this hall tonight.
Leave me, Lord, leave me alone with my song,
For I shall not be your thrall tonight;
And leave the door open, behind you, when you leave.
I have another guest to enthrall tonight:
Come, my heart, let us be friends again,
And celebrate the ancient fall tonight.