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Rakibul Hassan’s Joler Gopon Golpo: Exploration of Human Pain

By Mohammad JashimUddin

Rakibul Hassan is a promising poet of 1990s. He has published more than twenty books of poetry and has written eight novels including Agnika Andhar, a novel that boldly exposed the dark side of universities, and a good number of literary essays. Moreover, he is an editor and literary critic. In his writing, anti-colonial movement, language movement, liberation war, Bangabandhu, Bagha Jatin and patriotism are the main issues. Mostly, he has tried to portray human life in his writing. He has never forgotten to highlight the scenic beauty of his area and the Ghari River. He has been awarded Writers’ Club Shahitto Puraskara, LalonShai Puraskara, Sir Salimullah Padak, Shahitto Shanshad Padak, and many others.

Rakibul Hassan’s Joler Gopon Golpo [Secret Stories of Water] is his last poetry book published in February 2022. There are eighty-three poems in the book. Lamentation, mourning, dissatisfaction, disappointment, disharmony, death, disbelief, illusion, self-contradiction in life, and so many issues are focused in these poems. Going through the poems, it is clear that he has taken adapted the matters from experience and observation. He may have mixed the people for a long time to explore the human nature.

In selecting aspects and vocabularies, he may have echoed some ideas from Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’ because Tennyson says, “I am a part of all that I have met;/Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’/ Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades/ Forever and forever when I move./How dull it is to pause, to make an end,/To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!” Similarly, poet Hassan claims whatever he has seen and wherever he has gone is a part of his territory of writing.

‘Address is Nowhere’ is the first poem of the book. There are sixteen lines and four quatrains following a regular rhyme scheme: aabb ccdd eeff gghh. Frustration is the main issue mentioning death. Here the speaker finds that death is approaching to all like ‘waterfalls of a hill’, ‘uncontrollable western storm’, ‘current of a river’, so on. To regenerate the next generation, he wants to be vibrant but there are a number of obstacles.  So, he raises a question, “How Death comes forcefully like current of a river/How unconsciousness attaches like death-poison/ won’t I get the sunshine of morning!” Then he says, “How fast death falls consume surroundings;/ How long human civilization lasts with new calculation./  In deep dark night, unbearable sigh can be listened  everywhere/Address is found nowhere—the earth fears deathbed now.”

The poem ‘Death, Stand, Look at my two Eyes’ is an elegy of human destruction. In it, metaphor, suggestive images and some local dialects are used to express his feeling about human sufferings. If one fails to understand the connotations of the poem, s/he must make a mistake considering it as a love poem. The poem stars “Death, stand, look at my two eyes/I have never expected you such a way/Look, the earth wipes;/ Death, look, I have never seen you as ferocious monster/You have never come to the earth’s stream.  But finally he threats the death saying “Remember the Death you have come, you must die,/Beauty will  come again-/Again new youth earth will return with new life.”

In ‘Thinking to Return’, the speaker desires to revolt against the suppression of the tyrants of the world. He wants to awake the mass people to be united and extends his hands with hope and love. That’s why he declares that “Thinking to return-My Western wind/ Intoxicated kiss/Wildly uncontrollable youth/ Will return with everything/My sunshine hasn’t become mine/Seeing frightened of my hellish fire/ Angel of paradise returns to Paradise/ My extreme formidable reddish extended hood of surges / Urban-lady is in edges after edges/ I will backtrack / Making immatured grasses of winter/ I will do it as wild petal/ Like corpse in white coffin/ I will be covered with poems/ Wearing red shari after morning bath/You are the only fascinated frame.”Here P B Shelley’s ‘Ode to the west Wind’s messages are reflected. As Shelley says, “Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;/Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!” Rakibul Hassan’s last few lines are also the echo of Shelley because “The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,/If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

In ‘Towards the Ghari River’, poet Hassan entangles both pain and happiness. Here ‘Lady’ represents human desires and dreams.  Here poet says, “I told some beautiful lady-/I can make you surprised;/How!- replied she./I then said- Just after fifteen minutes/Give me a call;/After fifteen minutes, the phone rang/Understood-she counted the time with the hand of second/She asked-you would make me surprised!/She also told-I thought-/You are waiting for me/Holding extreme peculiar beautiful rose’s petals/At the ground of the house;/Standing at portico, I will show you/Only for you, I have dressed a red tip on forehead/Strange! Empty everywhere-/What a drought song has written in my heart/Nothing I could say her/Lalon’sektara plays a different tune/Walking towards the Ghari river…”

Finally, it can claim that poet Rakibul Hassan is very much aware about the subject matters and choice of vocabularies. He is a reader of the world literature and from there, he may have got the ideas of revolution. Moreover, his expressions are universal. Undoubtedly, he follows the rules of modernism in his poems.

(The reviewer is an assistant professor of English at Northern University Bangladesh. )

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