However, contemporary poetry, unlike the romantics and modernists of England and America that we are used to learning by rote, is closer to daily life, imaginative and easier to empathise with. Rajender Krishan’s anthology of poems – Solitude and Other Poems – is testimony to the universality of poetry. His writings, while reminding us of the masters of philosophical and spiritual poems, are realised in the present, following the life and the cycle of karma that we live and experience.
Rajender Krishan was born in 1951, and is a marketing professional since 1968. He is settled in New York, USA, with his wife Meera Chowdhry and two children – Anmol and Chandrika – and their families. Rajender is passionate about Kabir and apart from poetry, he also dabbles in photography and visual art. He believes in freedom of expression.
Without sounding esoteric, Krishan’s poems touch a chord with the inner soul, and offer a sense of peace and understanding. The poet does not pretend to be wise; he is a student of life, and is sharing with us the learnings thereof. The main theme of the works is “mysticism and philosophy”, with 60 poems exploring the various concepts of freedom, karma and love, the sense of ‘I’, the relation between man and God, the purpose of life, and current affairs, among other facets of this wonderful world. Krishan weaves in his keen observation with his respect for the life and the sublime to bring before us a delectable platter of musings.
The initial poems of the book, such as Core of the Onion, Breath, and the title poem Solitude evoke a Gitanjali-like oneness and understanding of the Paramatma. Philosophical life tones reverberate in Speech, Hunger and Lines, while Crossroads tries to underline the importance of making the right choices. Sigh is one of our favourites in the collection, portraying the act as a “reconciliation; a resurgence of faith”. In A Hindu Obligation, Krishan ties religious “obligations” with the ongoing issue of deforestation, and in Buddha, he rues the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by Taliban in 2001. Renaissance urges humanity to wake up and act instead of wallowing in helplessness; Reflections is a romantic piece written on the poet’s 25th wedding anniversary. Some of the works contain delightful onomatopoeia and rhythm, making the book enjoyable and thoughtful in turns. A few poems in the collection are addressed to or praising writers at Rajender Krishan’s website Boloji.com.
“When the primordial sound/resonates unidirectionally/then ascends/that precious moment/encapsulating all my reticence/is – what I call – Silence”
“My toe thumb/etching on the sandy tract below/the contours of a boat/that I believe/will carry me/to those/outstretched arms/that will envelop me/with love/and I will become alive again.”