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Oct 12, 2016

Oneiric Visions by O.P.Bhatnagar

Oneiric Visions by O.P.Bhatnagar
By: Bijay Kant Dubey

Oneiric Visions is one of the best collections of O.P.Bhatnagar which he brought it out for the first time in 1980 with so many admirable poems telling of the use of irony, wit and satire, logic, reasoning and intellect. Herein he speaks about emotions and thoughts, fossil feeling, poems as smile and the dead men walking as skeletons. Poetry to Bhatnagar is mushrooms, fossils; a visit to the Jurassic Park. A Poem Is A Smile is the first poem with which the collection begins. Human want and scarcity, food problem and living conditions, grief and despair, trouble and tribulation second his poetry. First of all, he is an ironist than a humanist. Though the influence and impact of Alexander Pope, John Dryden and others of that type is apparent, but instead of it he tries to take a slanting view rather than sticking to the verses of reason strictly. Morning shows the day is the proverb and it applies to Oneiric Visions as because what he expresses in it remains with him unto the last. Small poems so meaningful and short when revealed lay it bare the cocoons of meanings layer after layer. Personal grief and sorrow rake the life of Bhatnagar from his early childhood and it swaps places in between personal loss and the faculty of reasoning power.

A Poem is a Poem, Of Death and Life, Reality Born of Romance, The Last Supper, Ulysses, Man is Lived, I Can Question Only My Dreams, What is the Difference, A Framed Sand  Dune, If One Starts Asking Questions Like Hamlet, On The Cross-Road, Who is Afraid of Fear, Don Quixote, The Hangover, Questioning Life, Reconciliation, To Live and Die For, From a window Frame, To Hamlets, From Puri Temple, The Territory and the Road, Moon Olympics, Oneiric Visions, Of Emotions and Thoughts, Feeling Fossils, Of Death and Suicide, Of the Copy and the Original and The God Game are the poems which lie in included in the collection named Oneiric Visions.  Poems to Bhatnagar are either fossils or sand-dunes making and unmaking.

Man Is Lived is a small poem:
The man
Whose dear one dies
Is bereaved.
Others keep sun in a bag
And distribute griefs
Dipped in moonwater.
But the man who dies knows
That man does not live
But is lived
And dies only as thoughts
In an image.
 (Oneiric Visions, Rachna Prakashan, Jaipur, 1980, p.12)

Even the godmen, dhongis as saints, characterless yogis and fakirs and bad tantrics have taken the poetic space of the poet which we mark it in a small poem named Saint. The stories leak when truth comes to light. Such a thing has always ruffled our space. Many fraudsters posing as yoga teachers are bluffing the foreigners. We should be on guard against such people. 

Let us see how he puts before the theme of the poem, Saint: 

He preached abstinence 
All his life
Keeping women away 
At a light’s distance
In an absolutely purity of thought.
People ensainted him:
And when he died
More prostitutes came
To mourn the loss.
 (Ibid, p.49)    

The age of reason and its eclipse in poetry forms the crux of modern poetry as he too is a remnant of the same trend and tradition. It is but words which salvage fossils. Poetry is not merely emotion and feeling, but inclusive of fact and fiction, logic and reasoning faculty too. 

Feeling Fossils is a small poem which tells of how fossils can be turned into the substance of poetry:

The age of reason 
Overshadows feelings 
Like moon shadowing sun.
The eclipse lasts a small hour
But feelings sink to the shadow:
Fail to reappear like sun 
And go fossil
Till they are broke open
And salvaged by words 
Resolving mysteries 
By miracles of thoughts.
 (Ibid, p.35)

Pablo Picasso is no doubt a very good poem from the pen of the poet and without being tuned to him, one cannot write such a piece which is audio-visual obviously: 

Pablo Picasso
Was not a visionary 
But a divisionary 
Who set everything apart 
Making harmony from images depart.
He made suns sweat
And eyes like horizons part.
Rejecting the myth of mystic forms
He presented the dissociation  
Of perceptive norms
And exploded the pretentions pose
Of profundity in art.
 (Ibid, p.50)

Is it the love for a Japanese girl or one from the moon land of poesy? The Land of The Rising Sun can be taken as an example:

We met 
When the sun was setting.
She was in a hurry and said
She was from the land of the rising sun 
And left me to search her in the moon.
When dream ran dry 
She real came to me
And stayed with me 
Till me sun rose in land.  
 (Ibid, p.55)

A Poem Is A Smile is the first one to open the vistas of thought and reflection:

What can a poet say
That words cannot feel
In similes, metaphors,
Symbols or wits
In any suggestion of art.
A poem is a smile 
That spreads
From eyes to heart
Using gestures 
That have hidden 
Their meaning 
In an ecstacy
Of being beautiful
Presenting visions 
After the femininity 
Of a woman 
Emerging from a happiness 
Locked in blue waters 
Revealing its unconscious beauty
In parts.
 (Ibid, p.7)

Poetry as the metaphor and simile of reality is the thing as and when we take up the poetry of O.P.Bhatnagar to discuss and analyze it. The Jurassic Park turns alive in him and we get tuned to fossil-feeling. The sand dunes, their making and unmaking also attract him and he inducts to impart to. Poetry is suggestion in art.

The romantic not, but the realistic side too has a part of its own. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa’s smiles too cannot escape his comments and criticism. Reality Born of Romance catches the spirit and romance of the artist:

Mona Lisa’s smile is one thing
But the indifference she hides
Is different.
Romance is just one side 
Of the moon,
The other side is dark.
What begins as romance 
Always gives way to 
Children, kitchen, clinics and parks.
Gas, office and soaring prices 
Chase all dreams away
Like beauty 
Conceived by moss in sands.
Sun brittles even memories 
And breaks the nets
That romance once laid
On sands 
To hold what they could
And what they actually
 (Ibid, p.9)

Ulysses is autobiographical in nature:

My father was a wanderer 
Who took life to be o road
Viewing right  for future
And for past on the left.
He never looked back to see 
How much he had made
But always ahead 
With the vision
That he had so much 
To make.
All roads have their dead ends
But a living soul
Walks out of the body
As white as a crane
Flying off the arresting water 
Laying skyways of new hope
Dead ends can never ever dream
Of having new roads. 
 (Ibid, p.11)
‘What Is The Difference?’ as a poem is tragic, indifferent and personal too dealing with modern life and living, so hard to eke out:
What is the difference to me?
My presents used to live in huts
Outside the holinesss of the village:
I live under a makeshift roof of rags
And tin wastes hung on battered hopes  in the city
Aloft a filth choked drain.
Although I have no room on earth
I have a place in the sun:
Tragedy is not my fate
Because l do not belong to nobility 
Even by way of fun.
 (Ibid, p.14)

We may cite A Framed Sand-Dune which really explains his art and vision:

A poem is a vision
Which one can make 
And unmake it
Till it is lost. 
To find it
One must go
To the desert
With wide-eyed wonder
Looking for shapes:
For a poem is
A framed sand-dune.
 (Ibid, p.15)     

Questioning Life is a delving into the quagmire of life and its aftermath, the living present and the uncertain future and this shaky presence of ours:

If I were to wonder
What was I before 
And what would I be after
I could also simulate 
What might or would I have been!
Thoughts consume life
Like sun evaporating  water. 
Is it not enough for me 
That I think I was 
To vanish away
Like stars at daybreak 
Not knowing if it would be 
Dark again?
 (Ibid, p.24)
Go With A Smile is the only medium to be hale and hearty:  

Man is wounded 
Hurt, agonised and painted: 
Heaves a heavy heart
But finds it hard to go. 
The weight is heavy, 
Can’t lift it or leave it back
For it is his own.
Grief over fate
Or pity from heavens
Gather weight like cotton 
Soaked in water:
Saints, religion or philosophy
May enlighten him but 
Smile alone will lighten his weight
And make his going light.
So go with a smile 
Bleaching sorrow from your bones.
(Ibid, p.52)      

Don Quixote is another example of his art and craftsmanship:
For the brave 
There must always be
Something to conquer
For the generous beggar,
For the coward 
Something to shy from
For the sentimental a tragedy.
Man must act a Sancho Panza
To his unending dreams
Of visionary valour
Fighting fluid battles 
On cotton thick flakes.
We are indeed brave 
To seek reality 
And then nothing is left  to seek,
Tired of this stasis 
We look for something Kinetic
And recreate fresh illusions 
Till imagination joins the parted ends.
(Ibid, p.22)

Let us mark the title poem Oneiric Visions:

There will be fairies to live with 
After death: a fair deal
Granted  to our deeds.
Others assure of a rest 
Till the Day of Judgement
And yet many more visions 
To frighten or to please.
Poems of visions may be concrete
But the vision of poems may be vague
For half-seen visions act 
Facts sprayed with lies
Like poetry written in prose.
My visions are oneiric,
Visual, immediate  and self-owned 
Offering no mysticism 
Mixed with farce
Like bird songs
In cage enclosed.
 (Ibid, p.33)

Mysticism is not the priority or privilege of the poet as he has no deal to truck with it and he is not a mystic, but a realist and poems come to him as oneiric visions, feeling fossils and making and unmaking sand-dunes of the deserts. 

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