Spring Moon: Playing with Syllables
It's not everyday that you find a collection of haiku from a Bangladeshi poet. So you can easily imagine my surprise when I visited the stall of 'Janantik' during this year's Ekushey Book Fair and came across 'Spring Moon', a haiku collection by Quamrul Hassan. Haiku is a special form of Japanese poetry. Like many other cultural elements of Japan, haiku focuses on simplicity. In a haiku, within the proximity of three lines, a poet paints a subtle picture. The structure maybe easy, but the task of conveying feelings with ease and grace, definitely is not. In that respect 'Spring Moon' was definitely a pleasant surprise.
Quamrul Hassan is a former student of Dhaka University's English department. The book is introduced by the author's teacher Kaiser Haq, a noted poet himself, who talks about both Quamrul's lack of seriousness in studies and his passion for poetry. There are 43 haiku in the collection, and each one echoes a different human emotion. The poet chose the number 43 since it was his batch number at Faujdarhat Cadet College.
The changing of seasons always play an important part in haiku writing, and the poet makes skillful use of the seasonal diversity of Bangladesh. When the poet said,
shadow of a bird's beak,
on the ditch
I could easily imagine the yellow sun and lengthening shadows of a Dhaka summer. The beauties of a moonlit night, spring flowers, sudden rainfall, all become inspirations for the poet. However, the poems are not all about nature, but rather the effect nature has on us.
First day of spring
I wrap up
this reminds one instantly of the crispy feeling of that first sunny day that comes after the long grey winter months. The haiku are picturesque by themselves, but accompanied by the brilliant water colour illustrations by Rudaba Mohsin, they come alive before one's eyes. The cover has been designed by Khademul Jahan, a member of the band Black. A treat for both the mind and the eyes, it makes a great gift option.
It was really refreshing to find a young writer experimenting with a form so little known to the average reader. Being a part of today's generation he has been able to incorporate situations and contradictions of our everyday life in his haiku.
invigilator's cell screams
we don't need no education
'Spring Moon' is easily available at Janantik's stall in Aziz super market, showrooms of Geetanjali at Bashundhara City and at Rafin Plaza, Nilkhet. People in Chittagong can get their copies from Bishaud Bangla. Anyone with a taste for something unusual, easy on the senses and full of aesthetic value should definitely go through a copy of 'Spring Moon'.
(Ananya Rubayat is a student of Civil Engineering at BUET.