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Monday, April 23, 2018

Silent connection with Ko Un inside the skull

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A book is sitting idly on my lap now. A book contains several poems of a South Korean poet, translated into Bengali, which I have read for the very first time, and I have already felt a spiritual bonding with the poet - Ko Un. The very first day I got the book "Khulir Nirobota" (loose English translation: Silence of the Skull), I had to rush for catching up bus way back home right after receiving the book. In the bus, I opened the book, explored and skimmed the words of the pages, and dived silently into the sea of Ko Un's words with the help of the translator Soroishwarja Muhommod.

The book published by Prokriti, gradually, did not know when, made myself divulge the natural world of Ko Un in a bus running on the bumpy roads, where in my mind, this insightful poet met me with his sublime poetic approach to express his happiness, sorrows, anguishes, identities, feelings and so on. Reading this book was a gracefully silent experience for me as if I had a conversation with him through his poems, and we actually connected with each other and shared us through the words in an unvoiced mode - not spoken yet very well spoken inside the skull.

Ko Un, born in 1933 in a peasant family and still alive, had his life full of diverse dimensions of living and 'dying' as graver, Buddhist monk,  alcoholic bohemian and now a peaceful active poet in domestic life has enriched himself as a poet primarily where he has been found as much as he could merge himself in the nature. His poems also truly expresses and underlines the organic nature he contains within him through which he sees the world full of war, identity crisis, human relationships and so on using the natural elements.

The book which I read was Bengali translation of his poems. I would rather bet those poems are obviously livelier in his own mother tongue as he is an acclaimed poet in contemporary Korean literature and also in his own country.  However, to reach to a girl living in Bangladesh, the Bengali translation of his poems somewhat enables the essence of his poems as well, at least to me, I would say.

Excerpts of some of the Ko Un's interviews are also translated in this book. I found the interviews as much interesting as his poems where he has been questioned on his thoughts about relationships, life, death, politics, influences and his current writing assignments. The answers are profound depictions of his clear connection between inside insight and outside nature and reality.

I believe, perceiving poems and poetic languages are subjective in a manner that how a reader can make connection to the poems or/and poet. It varies person to person regarding different contexts, experiences and spirituality. I would personally go for accepting Ko Un for coming to me with his simple gestures and nature filled elements where the contribution of the translator is not any less.


The reviewer is a social researcher

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