A winner of several prestigious international awards like Anton Chekhov International Class 1 from Russia, N. Gogol International Award from Ukraine, the Best International poet Award from China, the World’s Golden Writer Award from 10 countries of the world, and a host of other awards from France, India and such like-Mr. Santosh Kumar Pokharel is a globally reputed multilingual poet from Nepal. To him, poetry writing is an addiction, a passion and an obsession. Virtually every time he hums, croons and incubates a poem in the back of his mind and puts it down on the paper for all readers to enjoy it. Very much like our legendary poet laureate, LP Devkota, he appears always lost in poetic contemplation of relevant ideas and thoughts hunting for diction and craft.
He is an ardent fighter for peace as he very well knows, peace and development are sin qua non to each other. Without peace, no development takes place, no achievement is made, in fact nothing good and decent occur. And, in the world everywhere there is disquiet, turbulence and festering violence as a result of which everyone and everything is terribly suffering. It is at this backdrop that the poet is out on the search for peace and plenty, out to bedeck the world with inner and outer pleasure and peace, out to generate harmony and close-knit bonding among humans only.
For it, he is wandering far and wide seeking peace, to find out the abode of peace. He asks mountains, rivers, sea-shores, sky and even well-read cognoscenti about the whereabouts of peace as if they were human beings, as though they were in the know of the address of peace. Like Lord Buddha, he sounds hell-bent on and staunchly committed to tracking down the ambiance of peace-no matter be it in his own country, regions or anywhere under the sun.
Somehow he locates the peace in the renunciation of egos at the pain and sufferings of the common masses, and in the serene fragrance where souls dance unrestrained and unbridled and in loving care of living beings. That is where genuine peace resides according to the poet.
The texture and structure of the poem pique. My interest and curiosity for the poet uses the word-Listen-sixteen times in the course of urging his audience, living and non-living things alike. These hearers are all personified, humanized and animated. The expression-the abode of peace -occurs in the last line of first three stanzas with nine lines each bordering on the form of refrain. The two last stanzas vary in light of line numbers in that the fourth stanza constitutes eight lines while in contrast the last one is confined to just two of the lines. What is of tantalizing interest is that the penultimate line and the last line rhyme with each other in every stanza. The last stanza which is obviously a couplet somewhat tends to remind the readers of English literature about Robert Frost’s celebrated poetic lines:
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.
To sum up, the poem in question very profoundly maintains cohesion and coherence, strikes an equilibrium between content and form, and choreography and ideas. The poet, suffice it to say, assumes his stand in defense of peace, in favour of humanitarian ideology.
Abode of Peace
Santosh Kumar Pokharel
I am a wanderer seeking peace
far and nearby
Still, I didn’t pursue cease
Tell me, where is the abode of peace?
Listen, ocean shore!
Listen, boiling waves!
Listen, streams in the middle!
You do sound not high
Listen, evening whistling sigh!
I my sighs will release
Tell me where is the abode of peace?
Listen, social norms!
Listen, well-read people
Listen, those in dorms
Listen all, where you may be
Tell if you are with me?
As you may my curiosity appease
I wish my patience won’t cease
To find the abode of peace?
Listen, values going down!
In the pain and suffering of others
Who their egoes melt down
And turn to a serene fragrance
Where souls may dance
Far from the crowds, I stare
As you of living beings care.
Maybe peace lives there!
Maybe peace lives there!
(Rajashahi is an Associate Professor of English at Triyuga Multiple Campus, Udayapur)