LIFE

Of nature, nation and love

THIS COLLECTION of poetry contains poems on the nation, nature, life, and love. One can feel the poet's passionate concern not only for the nation but also for the values in life. One thing that this book makes clear is that patriotic fervour did not die with the likes of Sarojini Naidu, and H.L.V. Derozio.

There is still scope for emotion and passion required for a patriotic poem. The collection begins with an epistle describing the courage and tension of a soldier waiting in the snow. References are made to the nuclear arms race and the India-Pakistan tension. The poet does not give up hope, he describes all the invasions that India has survived in her long history; "But that went by and India remains still," he says and ends with a prayer for the country.

The poems on nature have a truly Indian flavour to them. They range from jubilant celebrations of nature to more sobering and forbidding pictures of predators and hunters making their way through a forest. Each poem reflects a deep love for nature in its purest forms, and an underlying anxiety that the "treasures of nature" should not be forgotten.

The poems on life are woven around values of humility, morality, principles and sacrifice. They touch upon subjects relevant in today's world like AIDS, women's liberation, and atheism. The poet appears to shy away from all forms of aggression and urges readers to strive for a peaceful world that is safe for all.

The poems on love are on either unrequited love or lost love. The poet appears to adhere to the Keats dictate that beauty is truth and truth is beauty. He insists on a quest for true love and cautions everyone against deceptive substitutes.

Elango Arvind's book contains poems on contemporary subjects. It touches upon the ideas and fears that are uppermost in the minds of Indians.

By K.S.