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Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Vol. 05, Joint Issue 18 & 19 : July-Oct 2020

Poetry


Home and Hymns — PCK Prem


PCK Prem (PC Katoch Of Garh-Malkher, Palampur, Himachal, A Former Academician, Civil Servant And Member Himachal Public Service Commission, Shimla), an author of more than fifty-five books, is a poet, novelist, short story writer, translator and a critic in English and Hindi. Associated with several social/ literary organizations, he has brought out eleven volumes of poetry besides six books on criticism, four books on ancient literature, two on folk tales, six novels and three collections of short fiction. In Hindi, he authored twenty novels, nine books on short fiction and a collection of poems besides critical articles, reviews and critiques published in various national and international journals and anthologies. PCK Prem - Echoing Time and Civilizations 2015 and The Spirit of Age and Ideas (in the Novels of PCK Prem) in 2016 and Kathasagar of PCK Prem are books on him.


 

1. The Unknown Master

 

A great architect he is, everyone believes.

 

He does not leave anything incomplete,

I was born of him

and he stands to teach a great lesson,

of togetherness.

 

Guru told and I stood

with class fellows

and heard, I did not know

what he meant

and so I returned and asked.

 

Ma told guru was right, for the unknown

looks after…

he is the spirit behind the creation,

man fails to understand,

and going back to fine old days uplifts

and you’re a flying kite.

 

I look at the vast fields, green and golden,

and the grey clouds,

a thunderbolt as tall thin sticks of maize,

grow and flutter with bushels

like crowns on top,

I stand amazed.

 

Ma told to enjoy soft voices and aroma

of life and nature

I wished to see a pattern in the manner

 

of paddy fields

and hear what they spoke

and how I smelt and felt the touch

as noisy water channels continued

to fill fields to enrich grains

while clouds awaited decree of lord Indra.

 

2. The Village Deity

 

Village deity is kind, keeps everyone calm

and satisfied.

an aged tale I hear and everyone must learn,

in prayers in little smiles, hushed breathings

grey-haired woman tells.

 

I walk silently with home sewn satchel along

a narrow path,

fill burrows many with earth and pebbles

and naughtily irritate mice running about

and watch village women singing

an old folksong

as if musical tunes as humming continues

to reverberate

bend as if worship, and thin out lines

of paddy saplings

with pulled up trousers up to the knees white

and I feel thrilled,

a sensation arouses, for I knew the song

and loved its tale.

 

‘You sing, you laugh, you are sad and recall

and bear in mind intensity of man and woman

who jumped into the river and died’

she was pensive.

 

You are a good storyteller, a woman says,

I hear.

 

Because it makes you live together

and feel for each other,

so live each moment, forget past and future,

it makes the world good, old mama told

and I hear and laugh

in songs and smiles men and women live

together and happy thereafter.

 

3. The Great Dhauladhar

 

I walk up a short distance,

mountain Dhauladhar* stands tall

I go close and it embraces

with love and warmth

never gets annoyed but blesses the valley.

 

It welcomes all and offers love

without distinction,

I remember old days walking along

the wide dusty path,

Deodars **whispered as cool breeze

Touched the bare skin,

it kicked and I wove dreams

of sky and beyond,

I stood in a queue and prayed to god

I did not understand,

boys in rows with wide-opened eyes whispered

and looked up,

a teacher counselled to look within and believe

someone within speaks a great truth

and conveys ideas of life and hope

in idyllic flow.

 

Walking in joy on a flat ridge it was

as small rivers flowed.

 

Moul and Bheral ***still flow after many years,

but one cannot see huge boulders

and large flat stones,

and flowing water nor hear its music

of decades back.

 

I see huge structures on its banks and garbage

of the town stuck up,

and telling how man behaves.

 

I do not find old deodars and pine trees,

I cannot listen to the music

of the flowing water

and cool breeze as cawing and cooing

soothe not

many wires, towers, discs and howling

on wayside stalls,

tease and irritate but tell of growing time,

I walk along the black road and see growth,

but air does not speak, dhauladar range is silent

and tall

and looks at the valley with a sad face but blesses.

 

*     Dhauladhar – one of the significant ranges of Himalaya

**   Deodar – a name of a tree

*** Moul and Bheralnames of small rivers (khuds)

 

4.The Old Mother

 

I lit a cigarette and stand on an earth mount

it pleases as I look at women in the fields,

with goats, sheep, cows and buffaloes

scattered and grazing

and I hear a few forced laughs.

 

In quick succession

they come close, talk and go hurriedly

with animals,

urgency drives everyone and I see nothing.

 

Twisting lips, grimacing faces

and hesitant steps,

scribble a few words of caution and homework

a burning chullaha, firewood, water pitchers

make life of a housewife dreary

but interesting,

and dull, painful and yet she laughs and laughs

and looks sadly at the trees and beyond the sky,

and silently prays for the men folk

to grow, rise and live

as she brooms, sweeps, cleans utensils, cooks food

and makes bed as she hums a joyous tune.

 

It makes life complete she was told years back

and I sit cross-legged beside ma

as she bakes chapattis

in a chullaha and fills chillum while father

like a lord,

sitting on bed waits for the ancestral hookah.

 

5. Home is a Heritage

 

Home is a philosophy of heritage

I still count each mud block,

in an age of red bricks

that boast of richness and inflate ego.

 

I do not know why I do it but it gives pleasure

I fail to explain.

 

Past is inscrutable and pleasant

but still I do not love,

it sends you to unsophisticated life

rural is a gentle thought of a tribal instinct,

only elites want to revivify,

to perpetuate love,

for nature, poor peasants and the dalits,

love that exists nowhere

and yet it fills documents of history,

and I sit, shuffle pages

and feel images rising high

and so home is a heritage,

I tell everyone.

 

Home is an experience, a feeling

and when you move in the hallways of past,

it resurrects and takes you back

to verdant fields,

grasslands and little valleys.

 

You look up, and mountain of the north beckon

it looks after river,

every stream, plant and tree as if.

 

I stand in the vast half-harvested fields

with a sickle,

a shovel and a bamboo basket,

a momentary thought

a past truth, a naughty smile with a lie,

a quick act and I see, I run down

to a water spring,

to play with village girls and boys

that was history of joy and innocence

I write.


Reference

 

PCK Prem. “Home and Hymns” (the poem is in five parts). Yayati Returns and Other Poems. Gurgaon: The Poetry Society of India, 2017: 73-78.

 

Dr Jaydeep Sarangi and Rob Harle, eds. Homeward Bound – Poems from Australia & India (anthology). Allahabad: Cyberwit.net Publication, 2015:  96-100.