“When all fluorescent dreams die in darkness/ A Blue bird flaps its wings” this is how the Assamese poet Prapancha Boruah as Olea begins the dialogue in the wonderful volume of her love duet book ‘Let That Fly’ with Ratan Bhattacharjee, a poet of global recognition, who replies as Neel to Olea creating a beautiful image of two souls engaged in poetic conversation.
In this 226-page book containing 150 love poems, the two poetic souls are engaged in deep ecstasy of imaginative sojourn to the wonderland of imagination. The original poems by Prapancha Boruah were in Assamese. Bhattacharjee translated all her 25 poems given in Section I into English and in Section II poems written by Neel for his Olea are accommodated. The two poets scripted their love tales for months.
The new poetic genre called ‘Love Duet’ presents the thoughts of two poets in two different sections and that makes a complete poem. Usually, these poets write in the form of a reply to the other poet this could be understood well by the following example, ‘We Script Our Love Tales’ in the first part of the duet Bhattacharjee wrote: “ Between your soft eyelids/ and those two eyes / My ivory Dawn and my Sunrise” to which Prapancha replies: “One day I climbed the Himalaya peak to search for the stars/ You said you are the stars”.
In this new form of love, poetry monologue is replaced by dialogue. Daniela Rogobete, Associate Professor of the University of Craiova wrote in her introduction to the book, “Imagined as a poetical dialogue between two lovers-Neel the Blue Bird and Olea the Oleander-the poems belonging to the two sections echo each other, building up a sentimental bridge across times and spaces that can ‘weave dreams’, the unscripted green dreams of Love”.
The book reflects a wide range of happiness and agony as in one poem one of them wrote: “My heart is a trapped house / and the key is in your hand” while the other replied, “Had you been Gandhari / You might have comprehended /The pain of an eyed person playing the blind”.
Even in monologue poems, Bhattacharjee shows his poetic genius as in one poem he writes: “Stars cannot shine / But in darkness /You too be a star for my amorous eyes/ In my crazy heart’s deep / Keep glowing”.
Critic Ranu Uniyal says “Ratan Bhattacharjee’s poems reveal what it is to be human in this world of uncertainty and gloom. Poems that evoke in us a desire to fly, live and acknowledge the beauty that lies in and around us”.
This poetic encounter between these two poets has resulted in palaces of dreams and given rise to magic moments. It sometimes takes us to ecstatic heights and sometimes the bitters weet tribulations of love burden our heart with a heaviness of reflection. The two poets have tried to offer the result of their conjoint lyrical effort with the hope that the readers will enjoy the love duets and will have a satisfactory vicarious experience.
Minimalist in certain poems, elaborate and overflowing in others, the general tone of the volume oscillates between nostalgia and exaltation. Love against mainstream social conventions, love against time, distance, age as well as over-sentimental romantic love as illusory encounters are just a few types of affection that these poems illustrate in the attempt to draw the readers inside this poetic labyrinth of varied feelings. Let That Fly is replete with images drawn from nature that calls our attention to riveting emotions of despair and ecstasy.
What is most important is that Love as analyzed by these two poets is constantly put to the test of time, it faces time in its multidimensional facets as ‘the dumb and decimating time’ which can both kill superficial feelings but can also purge the spirit as the ‘vigorous time’ which legitimizes truthful emotions.
In this poem written in a totally innovative genre of love literature, the readers can get the first-hand imaginative experience of love in all its infinite variety. More such books of love duets are welcome in the future.
Deepika Pant teaches at Kumaun University. She may be reached at [email protected]