Today’s post is a book review by Hem Biswakarma on Gopi Sapkota’s poetry collection ‘A Suicide Note’.
A POETIC VISIT TO A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD
– Hem Bishwakarma
I feel like a sapling when it comes to talking about poetry. I am growing and learning about poetry. I think I need to work hard to understand, internalize, compose and interpret poetry as a genre. Many a time my dustbin has been filled up with so many torn and crushed paper sheets. Because after finishing up my poems over many re-writings, they seem so ludicrous and childish. I strongly believe that a poem is something more than what I write. It should be the most beautifully carved pictorial art in melodious words.
The ‘SAARC Youth Poet’ awarded poet Manu Manjil, who is also my mentor, had once said that words should tremble in a poet’s hand. But with me, the reverse happens. The hands first tremble before I pick up words.
And I have seen a few poets in whose hands the words quiver into the best tune, the tune of heart; the melody of enigmatic pictures of their imagination and something beyond the fine art. Sometimes I feel like art has something more than what we see. It surely has its expansion. This is proven by very endowed and wonderful poet Gopi Sapkota. His poem left me flabbergasted.
Gopi Sapkota is a recognizable name in Nepali literature. He mainly writes poems and plays. He has eight books of poetry and plays to his credit. ‘A Suicide Note’ is his anthology of English poems.
‘Visiting a Country Churchyard’ is one of the masterpieces of his deeds. I encountered this poem when I was flipping through the pages of my textbook, ‘Critical Reading Texts’. I was stunned at my first read. I don’t know which pen does he use to write such a poetic work, but I know he surely fills the ink up of his heart while writing poems. In this instance, his poem is something like beyond my imagination.
‘Visiting a Country Churchyard’ is an elegy taken from his anthology of poems, ‘A Suicide Note’, which reveals about the human life that it is short in duration, and it is worthless to cry and quarrel for worldly stuff. Once I read the poem, I felt that we have something in common and that is a ‘Churchyard’.
The poem speaks loudly about the death. The poet says he often talks about death and loves death as the subject of his writing, though the word ‘death’ itself is panic. The people once living in their life, they die and disappear from this world; and rest somewhere down in the soil.
Voyage of life ends to the Churchyard and this is merely an ultimate reality. Death quivers its best pursuit of music under the tombstone of its own name, where everything decays and disappears. The poet writes –
“After a hundred years I will
Also, be a tomb in a Churchyard…”
Whatever we chase in our life gets ultimate rest: be it family, friends, fame, name, pride, prejudice, wealth, power and everything that appears connected to us. We will be unknown. We won’t be able to know where would be our tomb. We don’t know, who would be lying next to us, as the world is so vast and diverse. We will be forgotten, as after all, everything will vanish because this is a process; this is the law of nature.
Many changes occur outside the tomb, which will be unknown. Trees may get taller, leaves shed, the wind blows, and similar kinds of things keep going on. We won’t behold how beautiful things have appeared around us, how many beautiful poems are written and recited since we will be beautifully kept into the unknown world. The poet writes:
“…Outside the tomb,
Grasses will grow tall and green
Birds will come and go
Brown leaves will fall on the tomb
Before wind sweeps them away,
A tiny butterfly will fly around
Before resting on a delicate rose…”
How powerfully he writes about what happens after death! The life sets in its west, however, the ‘beauty’ keeps on swarming around us.
“…Eggs will crack; chicks will grow
They will fly high in the sky…”
We will have nothing to do after we are buried. Time and again the new spring may come, new things may arise, a new generation will appear like sprouts.
After we sleep forever, nothing concerns us much; whether it rains or snows or the sun emerges gigantic with the ‘spikes’ of hot rays; no concern whether it is day or night; warm or cold. Even, be that the best day, won’t make any sense because death is senseless and soundless. Death is a flawless reality.
Gopi Sapkota is undoubtedly a wonderful poet. His poems have great taste, they reach to the higher altitude and make the Nepali literature flourish internationally. Though death is a ferocious thing to remember, we become panicked to see somebody dead, he wonderfully decorates the death with beautiful words when he writes poetry.
Reviewer Hem Bishwakarma, a poet, is a third-semester student of M.Ed. in English.
Presented by Dr Sangita Swechcha
Dr Sangita Swechcha is a Communications Professional, Researcher, and a Fiction writer. She has over 15 years of experience in international communications and media relations. She is a Guest Editor for Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) and coordinating ‘Nepali Literature month’ – November 2019. She is a novelist and a writer who has written a novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’, a joint collection of stories ‘Asahamatika Pailaharu’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’ in Nepali.
Forthcoming in English translations in 2020 in e-book formats first: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’ (Currently looking for international publisher/s for publishing print versions of these books). Twitter handle @SangyShrestha. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Connect on FaceBook