Abha Eli Phoboo

Kathmandu

Imagine if you will the deepest sea, the widest sky and history beyond time. A time that is poised in utopia where “We the People” work “with a will to reconstruct hand in hand”. This is what Nirmal Kumar Rimal dreams of, conscious that it cannot be, hoping that it will nevertheless. The assortment of poetry by Rimal, is an honestly written book of poetry that spans dreams, realities and theories of what might have been.

It is conscious of the unfathomable sea of sorrow of the world. The poet flounders to fathom this depth. He is tossed and thrown and at last, learns to swim. ‘Human Hopes Revived’ interprets the world on a level that strains to comprehend the sorrows and joy, beginning with Nepal. The poems are hopes expressed and it speaks for a thousand.

‘Heartless morons’, a poem among the assortment is a powerful statement of observation that is relevant to the turbulent times and how we deal with it. The poet’s choice of words are striking such as “We are immune to these avoidable evils… we have all been heartless morons of a lifeless show”.

After innumerable questioning, having seen trouble, sorrow and strife, poet Nirmal goes on to experiment with empathy in ‘We do not bother’ (“My cooking stove at home has remained cold/ I am a human being; I have a soul so bold”) and settles on hope in ‘Live and Let Live’:

Darkness, night, moons, stars and the sky are the essentials dominant on his canvas of poetry. As most contemporary poets, Rimal too, questions the direction that the world is heading in, that we, as people are collectively going towards. We are travellers travelling aimlessly, wandering, he says in his two poems ‘A lone wanderer’ and ‘A lone traveller’: “Walking on a lonely track pushing past others/ … lost direction and purpose, but no one bothers”.

A philosophical phase then takes over as the poet decides that the world needs misery, sorrow and strife because only these will bring the understanding of all that is tranquil and joyful. “If affliction won’t have been here… meaning of life is rendered worthless” (‘Mist of Misery’). Then from the self, the poet walks into the political arena to smell corruption as he pronounces his verdict: “This land is infested with anarchy” and the magnetism of materialism.

An observer always, watching from the boundaries, the poet’s conscience remains strong even as “the world trembled with repentant cries/ deafened I was and free from lies”.

A truly magnificent book of ideas and emotions, it could have done better with a more flexible translation from Nepali to English. Often the rhyme scheme seems forced and strained and should Rimal make sure that the fluency of his Nepali poems translates into the English version, his poetry would acquire the polish in the English language too.