The anthology of poems titled ‘Sundry Thoughts’ by Ashok Kumar Sharma who is serving as Sr.Lecturer in English in Govt.Higher Secondary School,Thial (Udhampur) is yet another addition to his earlier book ‘Love Enigmatic’ released on April11,2021.In the book under review,the poet has recorded his thoughts in the form of verses composed during the tough period of lockdown in 2020 imposed to contain the spread of the deadly virus Covid-19.The Foreword to the book has been written by Prof.Shiv Nirmohi, Padamshree, who is himself an eminent writer, well known academician and renowned historian.The said book has been divided into three parts:
‘REFLECTIONS’ comprises poems of spontaneous thoughts resonating in the poet’s sensitive mind.The poet delves deep into the various aspects of human life and strives to find answers to such questions as what exactly the purpose of life is ,how to get peace of mind,the real beauty,the charm and beauty of the days gone by and the like.For instance, in the poem ‘Kiss’, the poet highlights the mother’s warmth,love & affection when she gives an affectionate peck to her child. The poems, ‘Home’ deals with the fine sensibilites,the poem ‘Gone are the Days’ brings alive before the eyes the reminiscences of the poet when people had sufficient time to sit together and share their joys and sorrows.
Mother’s kiss on the baby’s cheeks
To calm it when it bitterly weeps
And to assure the lovely little one
That dearer than it to her is none.(Kiss)
A home consists of stains on the floors
Scattered clothes and things in the rooms
Yet full of warmth behind the closed doors
Amidst the wipers pestle and the brooms.(Home)
In the evening all of them would sit
To know who was ill & who was fit
In this way strong bonds were formed
All being united,nobody was harmed. (GONE ARE THE DAYS)
‘ODES’ which is the second part dealing with the Odes on common inanimate and abstract things/emotions such as Kitchen, Letter, Smile, Pain, Rose, Memory, Courage etc.The poet has personified all these non living things & abstract ideas/emotions and brought before the reader’s eyes the beautiful imagery of these objects, which few poets have dared to include in their poetry.In the poem’Ode to Death’, the poet dares death to separate his beloved from him as he has immortalised her in his verses while the Poem ‘Ode to Death’ brings before the readers, the visuals of night.In the poem ‘Ode to Smile’, the poet brings out the beauty and sublimity of tears when they are shed in joy with a cute smile.The poet has woven words in a perfect manner to infuse life in these inanimate things, ideas and emotions.
But you can’t separate my beloved sublime.
For I have immortalised her in lovely rhyme
Our love will ever grow as the time moves ahead
And we will always be together on the Eternity bed.(Ode to Death)
The scorpion from the crevice creeps
In warmth of mother the baby
Sleeps in a poor hut, the poor mother weeps
And in a lonely house, the thief sweeps. (Ode to Night)
You look gorgeous with a tear
Both of you make an ideal pair
As some good news do we share
But such occasions are very rare. (Ode to Smile)
‘CELEBRATIONS’ -the third part of the Book inspires the readers as to how to celebrate various aspects and facets of life to live it fully.The poet exhorts the people to face aging with a smile as it is a natural phenomenon and ever creature born on the earth will age and face death and decay.Similarly, the poem ‘Vaishing Childhood’ highlights the need of letting children enjoy their childhood and teaching them in a natural and pragmatic way.All these poems inspire the readers to enjoy life in myriad ways as it unfolds.
Since age you must; age with grace Though you don’t have a young face And difficult for you is to tie the lace Still, with everybody this is the case (Aging with grace)
So let the children enjoy Ask them to play with toy While they are still very small Let them often do rise and fall. (VANISHING CHILDHOOD)
The book from the pen of the famous writer and emerging poet encapsulates different shades of life such as love, courage,death,pain etc is a must read for the literature lovers especially those studying Indian poets wrting in English.The poet has judiciously employed various literary devices and rhyme schemes to add musical effect to the poems,which bears testimony to his command and grip over English language.The book is titled ‘Sundry Thoughts’ but the poet seems to have been lost into profound meditations to get the elixir of great sublime thoughts,which he has endeavoured to preserve in the beautiful & apt words.Such teachers endowed with the literary talent are indeed an asset to the Education Department and society at large.The book has been printed on the high quality paper and is beautifully bound. It is modestly priced at Rupees 245 only and is worth every rupee spent on it.