Friday, March 24, 2017

LYRICS Of LIFE - Book Review

Lyrics of life By Ravi Ranganathan

Lyrics of life is an astounding collection of poems written by Ravi Ranganathan.  The poems are jewelled with rich use of brilliant metaphors, using which the poet expresses the crux of his poem, be it emotions, moments, notions or instances. It is as if the Mother nature is talking and inspiring every moment of our life. From this I can appreciate poet’s spiritual awareness towards other things of life and nature, which are often forgotten in a cynical world. The very art of creating poetry out of slight moments is a precious art and the author seems to have a mastery over the art.
Most of the poems carry a blend of themes and patterns, like; the traditional use of metaphors that is mostly seen in classic poetry is blending with the free-style flow of poems clearly indicating a mix of traditionalism and modernism.  A blend of themes can also be seen, like nature’s beauty blending with an emotion or a scene. The blend is so subtle that it picks up from one position and reaches up to another effortlessly and you would feel like you are flowing through the scene. Yet another is the use of layers in multi-meaning form as well as a multi-muse. A minute you will find yourself appreciating the beauty of a purple rose, a second later you will be longing for a lost love.

You will also get to read poetry on various subjects, from spiritualism to terrorism, mentoring, loving, life, nature, rains, clouds, every possible topic is covered and gives you a wide variety of muses to explore.

The moment I opened the book, I came across the poem named, ‘hallucinate me’, written by the author in the memory of his mother. The poetry is a heartfelt expression of love and longing towards poet’s mother. It also expresses that no matter the span of time that passes by, mother’s love can never be replaced and we always remember her like a little child. There is a sweet innocence of a child that I could feel flowing through the verses.

The book presents poetry on various topics, spirituality being one of the pivotal topics written on. His poetry named Epitaph for a sanyasi enlightens us on true traits of a sanyasi or a yogi, concentrating on the fact that a true yogi is above every kind of greed and that the state of happiness and sadness is alike and the yogi is truly devoted to God. His life is simple and his state of mind is in equilibrium in every situation. In today’s world, the religious priests forget the true traits of a yogi and indulge themselves in worldly lures.
In Sadashiva samarambham, the poet talks about the guru who grants spiritual knowledge and emphasises on the fact that a true guru can show you the path to God.  In the end, the poet asks the thought provoking question: “Who are we paying homage to? My guru? His gurus? Or our rich and hoary  tradition?” .... The crux of this poetry, as I understand, is that no matter the amount of knowledge you gain from epics , spiritual as well as religious texts , or even the mentors ; You must be aware of what you are devoting yourself to. You should be able to question yourself , what you are paying homage to. And you should be able to find a valid answer. You should be able to gain true knowledge and true wisdom . The insight and understanding to this poem needs great depth because the flow of the poetry hides the deep meaning it holds and is to be understood only when you absorb the entire concept of the story.

And the flower spoke gently”, is a beautiful write in which I could read a flower as a beloved and a beloved as a flower and the poet as an admirer and as a lover. The interplay of metaphors is beautiful.  I loved the lines : “The flower took its own time to blush...”
Another marvellous work of art can be seen in the poem “Autumn is always my spring”, where in the beautiful season of autumn, the poet’s heart is blooming with love.  Ravi Ranganathan has beautifully painted the scenery of love in autumn season. As I read, I could feel the flowing memories that, like the yellowing leaves and plants were forgotten , yet in the dawning autumn, there were delicate petals of love that were blooming. As the poet spent a few precious moments with his beloved, he could read the pages of her eyes, that again expresses the span of time that escaped and the moments that needed to catch on to. And so, in that autumn, the flowers of love bloomed. Perfect!

In the poem “The cosmic Rhythm”, I can completely relate to the poet’s expression and can re-call the enchanting experiences that I had at the River Ganges in Rishikesh. The peace, the meditative mind, the spiritual green and on top of it the “colourless and casteless” River. 

In the beautiful poem “Felt along the heart”, Ravi Ranganathan has expressed how nature influences and nurtures the inner muse and cosmic consciousness of an artist. This is something unanimously found in every artist the world has seen. At some point or the other, great artists are influenced by Mother nature, so is the Poet himself.

Ahead” is a very thought provoking poetry that throws light on human’s endless greed for money, fame, status and power. And the poet raises the question: what out of all these will be left after death, when fame and glory will fade into dust? ....  I conform to this trail of thought because I feel that if the simple understanding of life and death is known by the humans, much of their sorrows and tendency to wrong others will be gone and they will be closer to knowing self and the divine. I loved this thought provoking write.

At what age” is a very sensitive and heart touching write with dual meaning hidden in its layers. The poet has beautifully penned the message that there is no age to follow your heart and we must, whenever we get a chance. We are often restricted by society in many forms portrayed as relationships; mother, father, siblings, spouse and even kids, and those repressed desires at some point of time sow the seeds of eternal sadness. The age passes and we never get a chance to follow our heart. The strong message is hidden in a little girl’s life long desire to play in the rain, which is restricted by almost every close relationship she has in life.  Another layer of the poem discloses the need for women empowerment, where the females are restricted to express themselves freely in the society and the very reason that is given is : “Act your age” or “Act appropriately”, etc.   And the third layer to the poetry is the very scene portrayed. I also like the patterning of this poetry. The poet has beautifully covered major events of a girl’s life, in apt usage of words and yet keeping the emotional equilibrium required in the same.

The mask unmasked” is an interesting concept on which the poet has written. Often we see people put on mask on top of a mask and often we do read poetry about the same. But what makes this poetry a unique one, is the last stanza
‘My little child all smiles welcomes me with such delight
I take him in my longing arms, he clutches me tight
All my masks unmasked, I am ME.’
There is a unique and beautiful balance between a mother’s love and a child’s love. The scenery flows beautifully expressing the pretence of the world and how everyone in the world is masked. An emphasis is laid on a mother’s life, here. How with each running event in her ordinary day, a mask adds up but when the innocence of the child touches her, her masks fall off and she is herself again. Another, beautiful poetry by Ravi Ranganathan.

Volcano”, is a sweet and interesting write. It simply made me smile. Heavy words and a lighter note, a perfection of wit!

There are many poems that I loved, like ‘Harmony’, ‘Death fears life’, ‘Cygnets in the pond’, ‘At what age’, ‘Flowering’, ‘Autumn is always my spring’ , ‘Singleness’ , ‘Questioned’, ‘A life in my day at Ramakrishna Mission Campus, Mysore’ , Peshawar massacre , ‘ Deadly December Deluge’,  Weave a web of peace’. The presentation of the book is simple and nice. The theme for the book cover is good, but could have been better.

My Rating for 'Lyrics of life' is 4.8 / 5

My favourite quotes / verses  :

“As I sit there enraptured in the rendition,
Who am I paying homage to?
My Guru?
His Gurus?
Our rich and hoary tradition?”
( Sadasiva Samarambham)


“Fame and glory will fade into dust,
Vain existence preceding vain death!
Yet, why this ceaseless craving within?”
( Ahead)


“Death is whispering in Life’s weary ears to quell unrest
‘if you are tired of the race, come to me, take rest.’”
(Death Fears Life)


Nature keeps reminding you in form and deed.
Surrender everything , yes everything, to get FREED
(No Reprieve , My friend)


In the shades of distant clouds,
Let us share the ambience of murky moon’s shrouds...”
(Submerge me)


“Why dear Earth, why this wrath?
Why this rage against
Your own gifts, your own benevolence?”
(Wrath of the Earth)


‘In search of wholeness, I lie
As scattered bit of cloud in day light’


Migrating swan was not searching
For worm or fish or water
But for lake where once it was..”

 My favourite Poem  :



Ravi Ranganathan

Ravi Ranganathan is a retired Banker leading a quiet life at Chennai. Very interested in poetry. Writes poems on all topics that catch his fancy  and his poems in various online poetry pages are very well received. He has contributed to many anthologies of poems and won many awards in poetry competitions. He has to his credit a poetry book containing a collection of his poems entitled "Lyrics of Life" published by Xpress publications.

Review by

Dr. Prerna Singla
Founder & Editor-in-chief - Hall of Poets

Author : "The Crown of Sekhmet",  “The Bible of Marriage”

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