BOOK REVIEW BY MINI GILL: ‘ALL THINGS PASSING’ - A Collection of English Poems by RUPANJALI BARUAH published by P.Lal, Writers’ Workshop, Kolkata


Poetry cannot be seen in isolation from human mind and soul. It exists in one to one interaction with mind, a silent dialogue that one has with the soul. It is a speechless statement to probe life. Poetry as a genre exists at different levels. Psychological contradictions, what one experiences in an effort to know the exact meaning of life trickles down in the form of poems. So are the poems of Rupanjali Baruah. ‘All Things Passing’... life is passing... time is passing. The dimension of time portrayed in the poems is passing away. Ben Hecht says, "Time is a circus, always packing up."
The utmost effort to stop, to pause, to look is the journey in the poems; a journey which again is passing. Rupanjali Baruah’s poems are abstract in nature and deep rooted in thought and psyche. Human mind is the most complex creation of nature. It feels, experiences, reacts, talks, listens and grows. Sometimes feelings and thoughts become too intense to be shared. Pain and aching vibrations find their outlet in the form of poetry. The poet has a very sensitive mind to listen to the inner voice of her mind, ‘All Things Passing’ is not only a book of poetry but it is a kind of journey in which one ponders, stops, feels the compulsions to move ahead; a continuous journey of the soul. The pain of not knowing life and the helplessness of human condition is visible. The void, the nothingness of human existence filled with pain and separation are felt in these poems. There is a gap between the self and the world and the poet wants to be away from the harrowing experiences in this world.
In  'Living in harness' she says...
'I bolted my door on the                                                            
incredulous world outside                                                           
inside the interiors are falling apart.'
The inner self feels disoriented and the urge to know life and the pain of its passing is beautifully described in symbols.
In 'Last Sojourn' she says....
'Tears drip through a latticed window
far away fire crackles in an open field.'
Here fire symbolizes the power which takes away everything from us and cruel moments confine life in the four corners of a 'photo frame'. Rupanjali Baruah's sensitivity of passing time matches with the thought of Samuel Johnson as he presented in ‘Winter’: an ode where he says....
'Catch them                                                           
Oh! Catch that transient hour
Improve each moment as it flies!
Rupanjali Baruah's poems are related to this question of uncertain existence, she has tried to explore the meaning of life, its transient existence and helplessness of man to hold it. In ‘Pathetic Fallacy’, ‘Tryst’, ‘The Windowpane’- because of the specific isolation within the discursive totality of time, the discourses reveals the uncertainty of life.
The lines in 'Resolution'
'What we were is still somewhere
I shake all over again from head to toe
I wait ....'
The wait is endless.
'You tiptoed into a room of memories
A mirage meander away from me'
The unsolved puzzle of life is hard to be tried and tested and to be surged towards many dimensions. Creation of myth in the poems especially in the prose poems is another effort to know life. The poet tries to go deep into the vistas of myths, to find her lost self. The poet is waiting for the ultimate surrender but doesn't know when because every moment to her is palpable, intense though transitory. Still the poet is conscious about the power of continuity of life.
In 'The Quake' she says....
'A blade of grass begins to sprout
inside the palm of a dead man'
All things are passing...time is passing though  life at large is still connected with nature and sometimes it appears as if nature has planned the misery.The constant urge for salvation, the urge to listen, to be aware of the silence and then again allow helplessness of human existence to overpower are there in these  poems.
Rupanjali Baruah rues saying....
'I cannot crawl back into the womb
I have still some other memories to free'
The ache to catch the past with words and with the appropriate rhythm is put together in 'On Dying' where she says...
'I know how difficult it is to breathe
I am a fish, dying'
Life is oscillating in her poems. Oscillation wishes to stop, to merge with the ultimate as here
'My farewell song
Dry on a past
And I am gone by that time'
In her prose poems also she is trying to find the meaning of life and to relate it to nature. She says, "A bird may take to its wings too easily no matter how dutiful it had been while building that nest, she may have to leave it maybe to rest her two feeble feet on the temptations of a night somewhere else" 
I would like to congratulate the poet who has enabled us to experience the intensity of feelings related to life. She is able to elevate us to another level of her consciousness where we confront the mystery of passing life. I conclude with the words of A.Mackish, "A poem should not mean but be"