Book Review by Dustin Pickering
Title: My Poetic Offering
Author: Manab Manik
Publisher: BooksClinic Publishing, 2019
Manab Manik’s My Poetic Offering is clearly an invocation to the Divine. Manik seeks the bosom of the Eternal Lord present in all religions and poetries. In this delightful and unpretentious presentation of sonnet-styled verse, the poet reminds us that divinity is not a fruitless quest. To seek the divine is the heart of poetry itself and the poet in these verses makes it abundantly obvious that he is presented with divinity in his soul. Edgar Allan Poe writes in The Veil of the Soul that the definition of art is “the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul”.
These verses are formal in character and not for the frivolous minds. These poems are not for indulgence but rather for enlightened thought. He writes in the opening poem ‘Prayer to the Almighty’:
Oh Lord! I have a simple prayer to thee,
I pray to thee,
I pray to thee,
Not for my own happiness and peace,
But for those,
Who remain in darkness,
Who are half-fed, unfed, and badly dressed.
The composition style is direct, formal, and delightful to read. Manik’s verses often are intoned with Wordworthian splendour in the “tranquil remembrance of emotion” to paraphrase the famous statement.
Wordsworth writes a seeming reflection on the thought in ‘The Solitary Reaper’. He writes
“Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!”
Manik seeks in solitude to enrapture himself around the question of divinity. These verses are not so much seeking, as expressing what is already found by the poet. God becomes a teacher and muse as in poems such as ‘Thorny Way of Thy Life to Immortality’ where the poet writes this sublime verse: “In my mind’s eye glows and glows thy life and thorn, / Leaving bloody foot-prints thou invent a wise morn.” Nature is seen a book in several poems such as ‘Thy Inspiring Eternal Voice’ and ‘Shining Pages of Thy Life-Book’.
The inspiration for My Poetic Offering is not the crowd of believers. Manik writes to the earnest seeker, but his work is consecrated to the power of God, and to God Himself in the most eloquent of commendations. We do not read about the poet in My Poetic Offering. This collection is not confessional and does not intend a social message. It is what it claims to be on the cover: an offering to God through poetry.
However, we question throughout how the poet comes to know God. Does he provide any clues?
Life’s indeed a pamphlet, not a great book tho’,
Its pages can be turned o’er and gone thro’ at one go.
But the pages of thy life-book’ll ne’er end and stop
Thy book neither white ants nor Time can tear and chop.
By invoking Nature as the presence of white ants, the poem endears the reader to a sense of gentleness and eternal love. Even the smallest creatures are life’s guidebook. However, something eternal and essential to life exists in the Beyond. The poet indicates eternity can be perceived through Nature.
With these notes, do we even conclude the poet knows God? In what sense does the poet know God? We understand through the lines of verse that the writing speaks for itself and is a consecration to divinity. However, we cannot assess how the poet concludes God actually exists. We can only surmise this through his eloquent and dedicatory verse written in passages such as:
The stars, planets, satellites’re lone in cosmic address,
But in my mind’s cosmos thou art crowned with laurel headdress.
(From ‘My Apollo’)
The individual mind grasps intuitively, or through faith, what is not revealed. Within each person, there is a universe; as microcosms, we contain infinitely small things within us.
Manib Manik is not a seeker himself but appears to one who is found. It is written in the Bhagavad Gita that, “Maya makes all things: what moves, what is unmoving. / O son of Kunti, that why the world spins…” and Jesus Christ speaks to the crowd thus, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” (Matthew 6:28, KJV)
When someone is curious and lacks conceit in God, the Creator may make His presence known. However, it is a choice of the poet to use his gift to acknowledge the beautiful God within us all. In his designations and mythical allusions, Manik completes the circle of what we call divine humanity. St. Augustine wrote, “God is a circle whose centre is everywhere, and its circumference nowhere.” These poems express heady and highly refined sentiment toward God. With such spiritual fervour does the poet write that the reader may only listen to what he or she already intones within the soul.
Dustin Pickering is the founder of Transcendent Zero Press and editor-in-chief of Harbinger Asylum. He has authored several poetry collections, a short story collection, and a novella. He is a Pushcart nominee and was a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal’s short story contest in 2018. He is a former contributor to Huffington Post.
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