The sound of silence: Review of Vinayan Bhaskaran’s ‘The Quiet Archway Within Words’

Vinayan Bhaskaran’s poems ask the reader to stop by and spend a few moments alone together

Published - February 12, 2022 04:00 pm IST

Using powerful images, Vinayan Bhaskaran’s debut collection of poetry brings alive painful centres of the mind that resound with a lack of belonging. By and large, the tenor of the poems is that of bleakness and pain, though there are short, soft lines too. As in the poem, ‘Would you come if I called you’, the lines, “Would you come if I called you, gentle as an arm of wind past the wound of darkness in the forest where the trees once stood with gleaming faces.”

In the twinning of darkness and roaring silence, the poems find their voice. This can also be seen, for instance, in ‘Poems of Exile,’ where the poem throws open a hidden solitude — “Is this the end or is it only the beginning? I ask myself this, scanning the remoteness of your eyes where the wind always ebbs and the stars waver like broken voices unveiling my solitude in a kaleidoscope of suddenly strange faces.”

Found in several other poems too, darkness and silence can be seen as threads running through the collection.

Some of the short poems have pretty imagery, visualising a rhythmic movement, as in ‘Time is a young shoot.’ Veering from the sombre to a lighter tint, the short poems add colour and an extra dimension. Even in these, however, the motif of silence plays its part, as in “…It has memorized pain. It doesn’t mourn the dead or the living. It knows and therefore doesn’t say a word.”

Bhaskaran’s poems ask the reader to stop by and spend a few moments, but only to share an aloneness. They do not offer solace, nor do they churn up the external world. They mirror the shape of the world in an interior landscape where one can only walk alone.

They speak of distance. They resound with alienation. They laugh at the absurdity of life. They ask to be re-read.

The Quiet Archway Within Words; Vinayan Bhaskaran, Authorspress, ₹295

shubashree.desikan@thehindu.co.in

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