Little book of many themes

Book facts: Candlelight by Tharindu Weerasinghe. Price-Rs. 200. An author publication
By Jayashantha Jayawardhana

‘Candlelight’, the debut anthology by Tharindu Weerasinghe, an Engineering graduate of the University of Peradeniya discusses themes ranging from love to society to religion to war.

The first poem is dedicated to mothers.
“She is the one who converted red into white
She is the one who sustained a world of pain
She is the one who sacrificed her life for us
She is the one who must be worshipped…”

Tharindu carefully employs Anaphora and slant rhyme, which lends itself to his theme. Robert Graves, who found Shelley`s use of ‘s’, the serpent`s letter, in one stanza of the latter`s celebrated poem, ‘Ode to West Wind’ particularly crude would have been hardly less displeased with Tharindu`s poem. But, preferring Shelley to Graves, I have little to object to in this case.

‘Father thinks Far’ draws a significant comparison between the young and the old and highlights the different perspectives from which they look at life. The poet, shows extraordinary maturity in his poetic depiction of father and his son. It is here, we know, that the clash between the two generations is sparked off. Tharindu, for some reason, chooses to leave it unexplored.

‘Sacred and Eternal Love’ is a poem about maternal and paternal love that rarely changes or diminishes over time. Particularly in Asian countries like ours, we know family ties are strong and that there is a very close relationship between children and their parents. This closeness is as much physically experienced as it is emotionally felt. So, often enough, parents are there to save and comfort their children when they are in trouble or distress. It`s this reality that the poem emphasizes.

His poem, ‘Story of a Hawk’ seems to have been influenced by a fable. And there is allegory in it too. Pride, the never failing vice of fools, as Pope says, and its big brother Hubris can rarely escape Nemesis. Tharindu, in his youthful wisdom, has written this simple moral poem to argue that one should not be too proud of one`s wealth, education, power or physical strength.

In ‘The Man of Today is busy’, I like the ironic, almost sarcastic last two lines where the poet asks:
‘Does he have enough room
In his coffin for his golden coins?’

Here, in the quoted lines, I have changed the punctuation marks in the original poem to give them a little more sense.

I believe it would certainly have enhanced both the literary value and the linguistic value of his poetry, had he paid a little more attention to punctuation in his poems where necessary.

The social ills brought about by the process of development are a recurrent theme in Tharindu`s poetry as is religious influence. In ‘Journey around the Strange Garden’, he upholds religious values while ‘Sacred May’ is itself dedicated to Lord Buddha.

‘Candlelight’ calls for spiritual development in people while ’I wandered in the Garden of Life’ and ‘Reality of Beauty’ both talk about life`s only reality- impermanence. His scientific religious poem, ‘How can Gravity Exist?’ is also about impermanence.
This slim volume with fifty odd pages is simply written and beautifully presented.

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