About the author:
An Indian author of British descent, Ruskin Bond has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels and more than thirty books for children. For his book of short stories, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992. For his contributions to children’s literature, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999.
My thoughts on the book:
In the opinion of this little poet, the power that a verse of poetry holds is profound. We write to relieve ourselves of a little mind weight, the thoughts flowing from heart to paper (or document, as the case may be). However, there seems to be an idea going around that poetry must always be full of depth, going through many layers to present its case. I disagree with that idea. Poetry can be as simple and direct as the heart that writers it, thinks it and beats its words.
Ruskin Bond’s poetry is refreshing. It brings out what it wants to, and doesn’t pretend to have depth. It is simple, yet very soulful. It inspires, and provokes thought, and in its words, makes me escape from the tiredness of life, and from the feeling of being trapped without being able to write.
From the book, I take the example of the poem “Snail”. So often we give up on life’s journey halfway, knowing and seeing the obstacles that are in our way. The poet looks at the snail, its slow journey as it crosses a busy road full of vehicles, knowing and understanding that it might get squashed under a wheel. But the creature moves onward, one inch at a time, till it reaches the destination. The poet salutes the willpower of the snail, at the same time bringing out that we can take a lesson from that willpower as well.
There is a lovely poem about life on the back cover itself. This shows that life is dependent, part of another life no matter how independent it may seem. The leaf which is part of the tree, the tree which is part of a mountain side, and the mountain which comes out from the sea… and the sea like a raindrop in God’s hands! I think it’s one of the best poems I’ve read recently in print.
It always surprises me to see haiku in a poetry collection and a pleasant surprise at that. Here, the poet shares some haiku in the Kanshicho form of haiku, where it isn’t limited by syllables. From his set, I liked the one of the petunias the most.
To pull off humor in writing is never easy. To do it in verse is a little more difficult. The poet does it here with some moments of brilliance. I liked the one about believing in ghosts the most. It showed that what we can see is not always what is true.
What I liked in this collection of verse is the simplicity in presentation, which leaves the reader still mesmerized after the read. The cover page design is also appealing, as is the verse on the back cover. The poems inspire verse and to a poet, can be very valuable.
Though some poems did not appeal, most of the collection does. A delight to read, indeed.
Title: Ruskin Bond’s Book of Verse
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publishers: Penguin Books India
Price: INR. 199
(April 22nd, 2013)