Ponderings 1 as the title suggests is the first volume of the reflective poems of R. C. Shukla who has emerged before us as on unconventional poet with a lot of promise. His earlier collections have established him as a poet of deep and varied hues of meditativeness. His hues spring out of the void of life and sketch kaleidoscopic images before our eyes and fill them with the moisture of subtle happiness and pains. He also accepts that poetry “is not a chain of thoughts”; rather “it is a garland of flowers of different kinds”. However, Shukla has observed his poems as the articulation of pins ‘that were experienced on account of that insensitivity among the people which is responsible for the disappearance of human values, without which no healthy relationship among various members of the society is possible. (Preface)
Shukla’s poetry like most of the philosophical poets tries to seek the meaning of a disturbing past and illusive future that tear the humour personality and even sometimes make him/her fatalist or nihilist. In an autobiographical poem ‘I Questioned Where is Your Future’, he puts up a fundamental question which does not seem to have an answer. When he says, “My past! / it was a plant dead in spite of efforts/ a mango which/ after its initial growth/ had become sick.” (7) And when he again writes, “I questioned / where is your future? / A damp and muggy morning / can hardly promise a noon capable to warm. Capable enliven those / victimized by the frost”. (7) Shukla appears to have mirrored the entire hungry generation torn by time and fate.
Shukla has selected sixty eight poems all subjective in nature, that voice the dilemma of entire human race, that bewilders “the poet who has” little faith in that power” when we anonymously call God. Although the tone most of the poems is grim and sod, the poet holds that “vanity and arrogance/never pay us in the last and soaring ambitions lead us/only to the jungle of inquietude” (119) The poet questions creatively “why this grandiose edifice man/instead of an abode simple?”(119) and poet with rational vision, he abstractly propounds the simplicity, unassumingness, truthfulness, honesty and righteousness us the vital force in a human being. These realistic and philosophical poems deserve to be read by all poetry lovers as such poems keep us alive in this age well known for forgetfulness, amnesia, and declining values.
The cover page and paper quality of the book is praiseworthy because publishing of poetry books is a rarely and publishing of less-known poets like R. C. Shukla is the real service to literature for which the publisher is worthy of promise.