“Andhra Keats” S. V. Rama Rao’s Review of K. V. Dominic’s Write Son, Write
Dr. K. V. Dominic’s Poems Write Son, Write: A Brief Review
S. V. Rama Rao
(Appeared in The Literati 2.1 (Summer 2012)
I have read all the 31 poems of the anthology, Write Son, Write of Prof. K. V. Dominic with profound pleasure.
Dominic expresses his feelings of warmness and love for the humanity and all other living creatures and the natural wealth, so fondly created by the Almighty, with a simple touch of the tip of his nib on the paper much faster than the Artists who skillfully paint on canvas the entire spectrum of nature, human beings, environment and the surroundings of their existence.
Dominic is not only a visionary but also a learned writer possessed with poetic talents. The ancient Latin proverb–Poeta nascitur, non fit–which denotes “A poet is born, not made” is perfectly appropriate to Dr. Dominic, whom I consider to be the brain child of Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of Speech.
Dominic is a simple person with profound knowledge in variety of subjects. Though he is a Christian by birth he is more secular than the so called Secular Politicians. His expressions through his poem reveal his inner mind that he is highly religious, patriotic and lover of humanity, nature and the animals especially the pets like cats and Dogs.
Dominic’s expressions are simple in meaningful words that can reach the ordinary readers. This is a gift of God for him because all his poems are well understood by ordinary readers like me.
The words “Write Son, Write” have the deepest sense motivating any person to take the pen instantly and scribe some poems at the command of the unseen benign power. The long poem “Write My Son, Write,” consisting of 21 parts, denotes the poet’s inherent approach to the problems of different kinds of animals and birds- a rare quality of the poet’s co-existence with all creatures. The genesis of this anthology is the reflection of the message contained in Part One of this long poem. I quote these golden words:
“My son / I have a mission / in your creation, / God spoke / to my ears. / Why do you / look up? / Look at the tip / of your pen. / I am the ink / that flows / on the paper. / Write, my son, write. / Write till / I say stop.”
What a wonderful message my friend Dominic got from the Almighty whispering in his ears!!! Devotees occasionally receive such messages from the Supreme Being. I recall a similar situation which I narrated in my verses “In Quest of God” which I quote:
“Thereat a cosmic light appeared before me and I was enlightened. That Divine spirit moved me around and unto my ears uttered:
“I am in your body and mind
Sans me your existence is void
Think about me dear lad,
I shall confer peace in your mind.
Ward off desires and greed
which contempt and hatred breed
And offer prayers in solitude
You will find me and be glad”
The anthology contains 31 poems on variety of topics expressing his love for his Mother, mother land, animals, flowers, nature, fellow beings, international celebrities like Aung San Suu Kyi, Mother Teressa and tribute to world famous singer Mahammad Rafi A close study of all these poems indicate that Dominic has not left anything un-surveyed.
Poets express their feelings by virtue of their commitments and not by influence of other factors. Coleridge’s lyrical ballads defined good poetry as “the spontaneous over flow of powerful feelings.” I find in Dominic similar qualities justifying himself as an outstanding poet.
Dominic has dealt about “massacre of cats.” Cats are loved and reared by many in different countries. I had seen that the pets are treated much like the family members and loss of cat is much mourned than a member of the family. In the poem “Massacre of Cats” he says:
My materialist neighbours
go to Church every day
read the Bible every day
but never the part
to love other beings
as fellow beings.
Dominic is a humble human being. He didn’t utter a single word of curse seeking from God a retribution for the misdeeds of his neighbours who simply enjoyed the fun of elimination of cats which allegedly excreted on the vast compound of their house. In another poem “Attachment” he writes over the demise of his pet Poppy:
What difference is there
between men and animals?
for He resides in all
Why should I seek Him
in churches and prayer halls?
Here the poet has reached the highest levels of philosophy saying God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient and is found in every living being. This reveals that he is not a regular visitor of Churches.
In another poem on “Sister Mercy,” the poet extols her selflessness and devotion in her struggle to serve the poor, and says “Serving God in human is more rewarding than serving Him in abstract terms.” Dominic’s mind is well exposed that he believes in doing practical service to the human beings, which he considered it as service to God than visiting churches and offering prayers. It does not mean he is non-believer of God but he is a staunch devotee staying far away from prayer halls as he is the right person who has perceived God within him and the human beings. Here the poet has opened his mind that he is a sincere devotee of God. Many people do not visit temples or Churches but they are more ardent lovers of God than those who visit the holy shrines on regular schedule. Dominic indirectly tells us that “devotion” is more important for realization of God than constant visits to temples/churches.
Again in the following words, Dominic says:
God, teach me how to detach
and also teach my neighbors
and millions of my brothers and sisters
to show love and mercy
to all non-human beings.
Dr. Dominic and I have similar feelings about our pets. It may not be inappropriate for me to quote one or two stanzas of my poem “OUR PUPPY” which I wrote soon after the demise of our dog “Puppy” as far back as on August 15, 1995:
“Every dog has his own day
But our dog had an auspicious day
Neither Sunday nor Saturday,
But it was the 1995 Independence Day.
*** ***** ***
“Puppy has attained immortality
By virtue of his dignity and nobility,
Though he is not seen in our vicinity
Yet his presence is felt by our fraternity”
In another poem “God is Helpless,” Dominic has rightly and exquisitely narrated the causes for the current global warming and God holds the people responsible for the miseries. In excellent narration, which strikes my mind, that Dominic though was a professor by profession, appears to me to be a Hermit sitting in penance having direct communication with God. I believe poets many times express their noble thoughts in the words of God, which appear to be His direct messages.
As a humanist Dr. Dominic is deeply concerned over the sufferings of the humanity, especially during scarcity of the natural wealth—water–which is one of the primary life supporting ingredients for the survival of human beings and animals. A hungry person devoid of food for his survival at times survives after quenching his thirst by gulping even a few drops of water, which serves like Ambrosia (Amrit). In his poem “Water, Water Everywhere” the poet in 43 short sentences portrayed the whole gamut of scarcity of water and how due to “absence of rains and trees / enhanced by Global warming / exterminated millions of lives.” He further predicts “water the source of life / omnipresent and abundant / like the parent Oxygen / free and insignificant / for millions / going to be more precious / than gold and diamond.”
“Wagamon” is yet another piece of poem of my beloved friend who has given a vivid narration of this picturesque hill station, which extols his knowledge of the area in abundance. Wagamon or Vagamon is a hill station of Iduki district of Kerala located 1110 meters above sea level with 10 to 20 degrees of temperature even during summer. It is also known as the ‘Scotland of Asia.’ The Christian Missionaries built their abode of service at Kurisumala (Mountain of the Holy Cross).
Dominic’s direct communication with God is well reflected in his poem “Work is Worship” A wonderful dialogue with his parish priest! When asked by the priest about his rare visits to the church for Sunday services, Dominic has said that he did not find time on Sundays because his students come to him for they are free only Sundays; / and for me work is workshop.” / (“You are right my son,”/ whispered God into my ears, / “I have never asked my children / to waste a day flattering me.”) / “Waste? Prayer is waste? / And work on Sabbath days?” Here again Dominic asked the Priest “Father, when God is with me / why should I seek him elsewhere?” The priest has observed “But collective prayer is / stronger than a single voice”. Dominic replying to the priest has said “Prayer? If prayer is communication with God, / don’t we need some silence? / How can I talk to Him, / when hundreds roar insincere words?” After hearing the reply to the Priest, God has uttered:
(“You are right again son,”
whispered God into my ears,
“I am shuddered by their cries
which never come from their minds.
My dear son live in Karma,
love all creations,
for I am in everything.”)
These beautiful words are sufficient proof that Dominic is a staunch devotee of God and believes prayers to God in solitude are more effective and rewarding. I admire Dominic because I too follow the same method of offering prayers to God.
Dominic’s heart touching poem is “To my Colleague” in which he says:
“TJ, you have become an icon,
an icon of suffering,
an icon of courage,
an icon of convictions,
an icon of forgiveness.”
Some religious fanatics attacked Prof. T. J. Joseph of Newman College, Thodupuzha and hacked off his right palm and threw it away when he was returning home after Sunday Mass on 4th July, 2010. Dominic is deeply concerned over the ghastly incident and rebukes the senseless religious fanatics.
He is also deeply concerned over the “Train Blast” and invokes Lord Krishna in the following words:
“Krishna, / why are you / so indifferent?/ Can’t you punish / these terrorists / as you punished / Asuras? / Or at least / curse them / as you cursed / Aswathama? / How can I ease in / sambhavami yuge yuge?” Dr. Dominic is not only well versed in the Holy Bible but also has extensive knowledge in Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata, a rare quality found in a few Christians.
That Dominic is far away from communal fanaticism is well expressed in his poem “For the Glory of God” in which he states how Resiya Beevi, a muslim lady saved Chellamma a vegetarian Brahmin lady aged seventy five while attempting to lay down her life on a railway track,, because she was ignored by near and dear. Resiya Beevi took her to an old age home and bore all expenses for her happy residence. This is a case that Muslims are very tolerant and amenable to the people of other religions and in this case the Hindus. Kudos to my beloved friend Dominic for his secular outlook in bringing forth this incident befitting to the holy concept of “VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM” (The whole world is one single family”)
Mother’s love is sweeter than Nectar. I have no words in my lexicon how to appreciate the sentiments and love my friend Dominic expressed in his poem “An Elegy on my Ma,” a humble tribute to the departed soul. He recalls how his mother reared six sons at a time when the family’s financial position was unsound. Let us hear Dominic in his own words:
“Ma, how can I forget / the way you reared us? / Dawn to dusk / worked on the farm / made the field fertile / with gallons sweat. / We were never starved, / nor knew any poverty. / Ma I am speared / with haunting past. / How ungrateful / were your sons! / How disproportionate / was our love! / How can your cent per cent / match with our ten per cent? / Truly mother’s love / is the purest love / and divine love.”
Synchronizing to the views of Dr. Dominic, I had composed the following verses “O! MOTHER” as far back as on March 8, 2000:
“Thou art a woman of compassion / To all the children to you born / But the love and affection / For me was spectacularly uncommon. // You took care of my health / And gave me available wealth / Since my birth to manly growth / And saw my prosperity and mirth. /// O! Mother, if I fail to remember / Even on your death day every year / I shall be sinning in my deed / That will not be excused by God.”
“Victory to Thee, Mother India” is a heart touching poem expressing love for the Mother land India. Appreciating the National anthem written by Viswa Kavi Rabindranath Tagore a century ago and the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, he says in a choked voice “Your face has turned now sad and gloomy / for thy children heed you not, / but surrender their souls to communal devils. / Patriotism, nationalism, secularism / give way to terrorism, communalism and regionalism. / . . . / Matha, I know the cause of your tears: / Religious, political, intellectual mafias / tear thy heart and drink your blood.”
I haven’t seen a single line of Romance in any of his poems. It doesn’t mean he is not romantic but he is very sensible to the situations.
Prof Dr. K .V. Dominic expresses his great pleasure that he was born in Kalady, a holy place in Kerala where Adi Sankaracharya the great saint and philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, was also born. Only fortunate and learned people like Dominic are seldom born in the holy places where saints and great pandits are born. I am sure with the blessings of Adi Snkaracharya, my friend Dominic will further rise in his career. I wish him longevity and sound health for him to contribute poems for the benefit of the society.
“Write my nephew, Write.” With these words, I conclude my views about the most excellent poetic contributions of Dominic.
“Andhra Keats” S. V. Rama Rao, Distinguished Member, International Society of Poets (USA), Former Senior Police Officer, Odisha. Address: # Agraharam Street, PO Chatrapur, 761020, Dist Ganjam, Odisha.