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March 04 , 2008



From the rheumy-eyed contemplations of the aging eagle in the opening poem, Calling Time to the pulsating denouement in Aftersong, this is poetry of purpose, captivating as much in sweep, style and structure as in substance, sequence and eloquence. Lone Witness and Other Poems is a collection of poems fittingly sequenced as a narrative expedition and probing the twilights and heart of a nation in wake. The general picture situates in dumbfounding contrasts, nature’s unmatchable beauty spots viewed in unforgettable glimpses against the chaos and bleakness of ruins and graveyards, the aftershocks of man-made follies and tragedies. The reader is taken through a panorama of mountains and plains, velds and forests, floods and drought, city lights and village hearths, all of which are similitudes of altitudes and experiences that hatch contrasting moods and emotions. The note of aspiration is ardently directed more at self-reinvention than at rousing a slumbering public, hence the matter-of-fact musings implicit in lines like

The wreck is real, the deaths are people
The bleeding and the blown to bits
The scattered flesh that shock the fields
The horrid reek of mangled heaps

But the closing call is an entreaty to all camps and persuasions

That villains alone may fear
The epidemic of peace
For the dawn of smiles on infant faces
And the rekindling of hope in sunken eyes

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