‘Father’ by Abhilash Fraizer is a handful of profound poems that sincerely seek a healing for this war-torn and fragmented world. As the tagline of the book truly says, “Explore the true Father in these magnificent lines of poetry that open a new vision of universal brotherhood”, this collection of poetry is an attempt to clad the modern man standing naked in the rain of godlessness with the eternal embrace of God, our common Father and Earth, our common Mother.
The Author stuns the reader with an uncanny poetic insight that explores new meanings and striking nuances in the familiar characters of the Bible and history. He draws the raw materials for his poems from the Bible especially, like Joseph the Dreamer, Mary Magdalene, Peter, the woman with hemorrhage and so on and travels through their minds to come out with exceptional insights that literally stun the reader with some extraordinary reflective depths. We hear the deepest cries and crises of modern man reflected in them and we realize that their agonies are the agonies of our own times.
The finest and the longest of the poems in this collection is titled ‘Father’, which is written in the form of a dramatic monologue, exploring the thoughts and feelings of Saint Francis of Assisi, when he stood naked after his attires were snatched by his biological father. The Author elevates the moment to another level and discovers in his mind, the agonizing yearning of contemporary man cut off from God the Father and Earth, the mother. With an uncommon poetic vision, Fraizer infuses into the poem the contemporary ecological crisis of modern man. In these profound lines, we experience the agony of man torn off from nature.
The Author writes:
“I heard the rivulet sobbing,
And the breeze returning
After an unanswered knock
At my door!
With an arrogant cloak
I shunned the breeze,
And with a pair of regal sandals
I built a fence
Against the soil and the earth!
I became a kingdom
With my own autonomy!
The sky became a stranger,
Something so aloof,
Whom I never gave a gaze to!
The rain wept and shed her tears
On my roof…”
Francis’ cry to God, the Father and the Earth, the mother, to clad him with love, is a cry of contemporary man standing naked in the rain of godlessness and wreckage of faith and hope. Francis’ Father does not stop just being Father to human beings alone, but embraces the whole of creation, including the flora, fauna, the stars, the moon and the blackholes. A universal brotherhood is sought beyond all petty confines of the fragmented modern world. To the wild wolf who comes to devour him, the unconventional saint says:
“Hi, my brother Wolf!
Your brother salutes you!
We have one Father,
One common Father
Who loves you and me.
Come with me to the garden –
The Garden of brotherhood
Where there is no man or wolf,
But children of God, the Father!”
In another poem titled ‘Tears of a Rock’, Fraizer delves deep into the remorseful mind of Peter, the disciple of Jesus Christ, who denied him thrice. The brilliant use of imageries and metaphors are a sheer delight to watch. See the opening lines of this poem:
“Once you called me ‘The Rock’;
Now, every rock on earth mocks me!
I, the impulsive, the daring Peter,
Who once bragged to die for his Master!
Beside this fireplace that burns bright,
I shiver with a chill as deep as my being!
It is so cold here!
I am lost in an icy sea
Like a lone seaman who has lost his oars.”
Another poem in this anthology, ‘Sandals from Eternity’ is an example of the Author’s brilliant imagination. He picks the leather sandals of the Son of Man, one of the greatest wayfarers ever walked on the face of the earth, and sketches the whole of salvation history in them with his exquisite poetic skills.
“The sandaled walk of God!
It bore all the dust
From Ur, Canaan, Egypt, Red Sea
And the wilderness;
As the mark of an ever-abiding love!
And it would bear all the dust
Of fallen human race;
From Adam’s sin to the end of time!”
In the poem ‘The Fiery Touch’, the Author astonish us with his exceptional poetic insights and interpret the story of the woman with hemorrhage with a craft and intuition unseen hitherto. See how he opens this poem:
“A drop of blood fell
And disappeared in the sea –
The frosty, dark sea of men and women
Thronging, and jamming each other
On the bustling streets of Galilee.”
Lines like “Her ‘leaking’ little boat slithered over the sea, squeezing forward through the tumultuous mob…” is a testimony of the Author’s uncommon power to use similes and metaphors.
Father is definitely a transforming reading experience. It is like a river in which we see our face and our inner musings reflected. While we read these lines, the images and characters slowly disappear and the reader begins to see in them his/her own story, standing in naked awareness, intimately feeling the warmth of the Father in the gentle embrace of the earth and the sky. Go for it! Experience this magic of poetry by yourself.
Father was published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, Oregon, USA. The book is available in more than 50 countries. Apart from the website of Wipf and Stock, you can find it on leading e-commerce portals such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Playstore, Wook.pt, Fnac, Takealot, Rakuten Kobo, Bertrand.pt, Booktopia, Weltbild, Bol.com and Feedbooks.
Review written by
Dr. Rajeev J Michael PhD
Clinical Psychologist & Professor, Rajagiri College