ANANYA S GUHA traverses multiplicity of worlds in the poems of Darius Cooper
Darius Cooper’s poems have an infinitude about them and traverses multiplicity of worlds: the personal, historical, the mythic and the spiritual.One may wonder why I have used these epithets, that is because the poems are at once simple and complex, traditional and modern. They begin most of the time in a conversational mode, but at the end there is, if I may so, for want of a better expression, a question mark:
standing on a pavement
of cleverly buried pieces of glass,
straddling alien concrete,
to define my proper place
under the gravity
of some thirty odd years.”
The poems take the shape of narratives, there are stories within stories, cycle of doubts and the human angst of being, becoming:
I was born between
a sea and a mountain range…
From the sea I absorbed many stories
of white invaders who came
wet behind their ears
to our silent shores…
to establish progressively
the hegemony of what
they called civilization”.
Undoubtedly the poems strike a prosaic note but the tenor of the poems is hauntingly self questioning.
The preoccupation with history and myths, both occidental and oriental are borne out superbly in the poems in cross currents of western and eastern history:
” The Tiber gnaws at memories
and seven hills
papal and operatic,
In the section entitled ” Bhakti Poems” the poet invokes the teachings of Indian’ sants’ and saints:
”The caste marked hysteria of religion
is conspicuously missing in Tuka’s Delhi
No beggar demands alms in Tuka’s name
No priest insists on any Abhishek ritual”.
The last poem in this section ” Twenty Tentative Ways Of Approaching God” are twenty syllogisms and prayers addressed to an impersonal Being pithily mentioned as ” Lord”. They are heartfelt expressions not of anguish but of surrender:
” Now as I
tentatively approach you, lord,
the no one and the some one
The poems of Darius Cooper are multicultural, cosmic and pluralistic. They envision one world, one ‘ culture’ though in varying contexts. Having been born and brought up in Bombay, the city he loves and impersonates, he now lives in the USA, this multicultural ethos is a highlight of his poetry. There is no sign of any conflict or culture clash, but a dutiful acceptance of destiny- karma in this sense. These are meditative, beautiful poems , meant also to be read aloud. They are hymns, not in darkness, but in light.They need re reading for a better feel and the absorption process.
Title: ” Beyond The Chameleon’s Skill”
Publisher : Poetrywala, Mumbai
Price: Rs 150, US Dollars 6.