‘Song of the Spirit’ : A review

By Manas Pal

‘Song of the Spirit’ by Sanjeev Singha is by all means a collection of conscious, yet intense, expositions of strange intricacies of human emotions that reflect upon, mostly, ‘the unfinished’. There are total 55 poems and all are written in ‘Open forms’ with a distinct departure from formal scales or traditional rhyme or meter – though some of them in structures followed common quatrain. Technically the escape from the strict confinement of rules provided the poet much needed opportunity to float on the wings of his emotional surge freely and with a consummate ease.

The poetic reflections ranging from redemptive memory to sudden tinge of spiritual bite have been poignant enough to set a reader’s heart aflame with a deep sense of unsettling permanence in incompleteness. Often, the completeness comes with an ironic finality :

Since ages and centuries

And beyond the galaxies,

In my proximity

And beyond the eternity

About you only I sing

Yet, being my true love

I lost you in my being..

‘Song of the Spirit’ largely reflects the poet’s eternal longing for ‘love’, or in other words, the entrenched notion of beauty that is inherent in it. But at the same time, true to a modern protagonist of the most substantial artistic legacy that survives since antiquity, the poet does not miss the social resentments of/ for the disenfranchised or tortured or for that matter disposed of at a time which, as it appears to have convinced the poet, is seriously ungodly and disappointing too. In fact, time and again the arresting suggestion of distilled bitterness of the poet is bound to put the reader in front of the much discomforting mirror:

Besides the field of rye,

Where hundreds of sparrows fly,

She lived a humble life.

She’s the apple of every eyes

And victim of human vice


In the land of golden fiber

She’s sold by her drunken father

For a quart of country liquor

( She is Only Sixteen)

Sometimes, such bitterness intensifies into a deep rooted disenchantment and isolation. And, the poet- the ‘crazy lover’- finds himself standing lonely in the crowd with a profound statement of sarcastic detachment:

“ I am merely a scarecrow

Among you I live and grow”…

Among all the poems what, however, stands apart is ‘Confession of an Ol’ Man’. The structural style, tone and tenor are bound to remind the reader of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘ The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. This poem also gives us a ‘complete story’.

“The old man carefully looked

At his hand and reckon-

His children he buried and

Beat his breast on and on

Tired of dirty fate

Which he bought and regret,

The o’man dug and sang

For his sorrow to forget ..”

As one goes down the pages he or she is forced to encounter the refined poetic renditions of vast human frailties and life’s inevitability that are unfolded with surprising ease, and are often more palliative than provocative.

My lonely father, he is 86


Like the master, as he had been

To lock the door, he is too keen.

For my mother, it’s her daily chore

After my father, to unlock the door ….

“Song of the Spirit” is the first book of poems of Sanjeev Singha, but the delicate celebration of ‘life’-- in all its beauties and oddities, expressed narratives and sharp nuances – as immaculate and as inspiring- is definitely an important contribution to the literary activities of our time. The book is certain to encourage the reader to undertake an intellectual endeavor to redefine the modern spirit –its longing for love and liberty, its magnificence, its anxieties , its banalities, its brutalities, and for sure its unfinished tasks. The end experience is bound to be devastating yet exhilarating ---and invigorating too.