No matter whatever the language is, its artistic use determines the standard of poetry that has been created; and its artistic use is impossible unless the poet possesses wholesome command on the language when it brings along its cultural impressions too; and the poet must possess profound knowledge of culture in which he composes his poetry. In fact the cultural values which are inseparable are evident in the cadence of the work of a poet. Muhammad Shanazar writes in English, and his poetry at present has attracted intellectuals and critics at national and international levels and they have formed their opinions that his poetry deserves to be acknowledged with due importance.
Shanazar’s poetry is replete with dominant images, similes, and metaphors, derived from the both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial spheres. To him poetry is not a common experience to express one’s emotions as it is often assumed but rather it is a sacred message impinging upon the sensitive, clear and delicate minds, transmitted into the lucid lines, with symphony and music of soul, tempered with the winged emotions, appealing to hearts rather than minds, which raises black or opaque curtains, of life, universe and final truth. He also presents more scientific and rational definition of poetry than merely a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings that it is an expression of heart piercing thoughts combined with emotions flowing from the Greater Mind to the Receptive Mind when both function at a certain indescribable fleeting frequency. The Receptive Mind works wonders performing the task of centuries during these ephemeral moments revealing the curtained truths of the time and place in which Man exists. This amazing definition how the link is established between the Greater Mind and the Receptive Mind again captures the attention of the critics for it is a totally an evolved and advanced definition ever presented in any literature of the world.
Muhammad Shanazar in the Dance of Darkness, dealt with the variety of subject matters, the canvas of his poetry goes beyond the regional borders and touches the limits of international horizon. He like great poets takes the raw material from the scattered elements in the surroundings, and after heightening, glorifying and mystifying them reveals the ultimate hidden truth. In childhood when giddiness made him thumping fall, he used to consider himself the centre around which all the objects like pilgrims circled and moved around but when the giddiness slowed and slowed down he found himself mocked and deceived:
The figures then slowed, slowed down,
I rubbed my eyes and pondered finding,
The circling objects standing still,
Ah! At the discovery I was shocked,
By the circling world I was mocked.
Muhammad Shanazar not only deals with the experience that a poet may confront ordinarily but also he expresses the confounding and baffling experiences; when he ponders over his own existence, he can not decide what is the true nature of his own existence:
Realities baffle me,
Distract me the facts,
When I ponder over,
I contain the universe,
Or it contains me,
It is a mystery.
The powerful mind of the poet does not observe the limits of time and space, his winged mind possesses the quality to oscillate between present or past; in the poem The Dance of Darkness he swings into the past and makes commentary on the havoc and presents the horrible destruction of the nuclear weapons:
All blackness of humanity spurts out,
In the shape of sooty mushroom,
Upon the earth spreading sable shadows,
The explosion smashes and blows up,
The whole structure of civilization,
The hopes resting in the beating hearts,
And cherished longings in the minds.
Shanazar is the poet of humanity, he is not biased and prejudiced against any nation, he only depicts what is unjust what must be avoided, and he creates awareness in the callous, indifferent minds that may push the whole humanity into the quagmire of troubles. In his poem The Second Visit he describes and depicts abominable picture of humanity in case the nuclear weapon will not be eradicated from the planet, he on the wings of imagination flies into future after the expected nuclear war on the earth and is shocked to find post-war generation on the disaster-prone planet:
Oh! Who are these who drag the bodies,
Like reptiles remotely resemble the human race,
Hairless heads, faces without beards and moustaches,
Shaved brows, sans lashes beady gummy eyes,
The bag-like loose bellies fall on the knees;
Flexible noses hang like lurking beaks.
Arms like jointy-sticks with overgrown hands,
Legs like thick bendy rope made of black polythene.
Shanazar seems to be a silent helpless member of the club functioning for anti-nuclear campaign; his sole and sole object is to see the world free of conventional and nuclear weapons, he pleads the heads of humanity to throw them into the seas to remove impeding fatal fear over the biological life:
A time to throw the spacey cobras,
Into the waters of the deep seas,
To remove impending fatal fear,
That makes us all yellow or pale,
To wash blobs of the bitter past.
And when no one pays heed to his heart piercing cries he stands aside like a helpless shepherd whose flock is attacked by the wolves and sees the spectacle frozen to his soul:
O! The wise heads of humanity,
Though you obey or not, yet I shall utter
The notes, give forth the voice of conscience,
I won’t dissuade you, do whatever you wish,
But blood, honour and life on the paths,
You trample, torment my mind, my soul,
And I like a helpless shepherd stand aside,
Whose flock is taken by the fierce wolves.
In a single effort it impossible to cover all aspects of any poet’s work when his poetry multidimensional, shanazar’s poetry is too multidimensional, but all aspects are bent to only one direction that may be regarded the nucleus of his poetry that in every case beauty of the earth must be made secured through patience, tolerance love and kindness otherwise the descending generations will never forgive us and the world might change in to an earthly hell. Therefore it the responsibility of the leading heads of humanity not to repeat what was done in the past. In the poem Who I Am, being a representative of humanity, he regards himself alone and alone responsible for disorder of the world instead of considering someone else responsible:
An inventor of devilish devices,
A maker of trouble in each corner,
A being discarded from the Heaven,
A flame that makes the world a hell,
Would that I have shown my worth,
And have added beauty of the Earth!
With the passage of time, the layers of shanazar’s poetry will disclose themselves; it is impossible in the wider spectrum what heights he may achieve in future but at present it all seems incredible that a poet like him with no eminent back ground has not only written in the alien language a marvellous work with the embellished language but with sublime thought also. His poetry bears the fragrance and influences of almost all prominent western poets who projected beauty, love and peace. He also has given a novel bend to English poetry by introducing fiction in verse. His poems A Deformed angel, A Corpse, The Murder, Swaang, and On the Fall of Dhaka, can be regarded fictions as they are narrative and the reader meets unexpected sudden end and finds himself stunned reaching on the conclusion. Shanazar also laments on the loss of our cultural values pertaining to past, he hearts cries when he observes humanity enacting the destructive role in the name of modernity crushing the traditions and customs. He does not reject the modern trends, but he is of the opinion that the old good traditions must be taken along in the modern age though they are primitive, and nefarious trends must be set aside and avoided though they are new-fangled, it is the only solution of the entangling troubles confronted by the humanity in the current century. His poems Magnetic Force, To The Banyan Tree, Swaang, and On The Sustaining Strokes are a potent protest on the loss of cultural heritage. It is a natural phenomenon that every poet loves his country; it is his love for the country and patriotism that compel him to ponder over the prevailing situation and grieves over the collective state:
The seats where cuckoos and nightingales,
Were to build up nests for the descendents,
Are usurped, snatched by crows and owls,
Their voices irritate the more indwellers.
Some of Shanazar”s poems pertain to his childhood and they joys and dread which a child passes through. His poems A Race, Magnetic Force, A Chorus, To The Banyan Tree, Swaang, The Resembling Shadow, On sustaining Strokes The Madman’s Song, The Discovery, On The Fall of Dhaka, and Revision present his vivaciousness and spirited boyhood, and psychological influence in the form of dread he had to undergo. Shanazar’s poetry also exhibits a tinge and trace of spiritual conflicts in his inner-self often he is defeated in his resolutions and then he determines afresh to achieve his spiritual goals. He has a deep sense of loss of time that he could not avail himself the opportunity of life in full, there is a specific objective that he desires to achieve, something that has been lost by him which keeps him disturbed, perhaps he wants to see his inner being perfect and purified but in vain; he says in I Loose The Battle:
To weed them I resolve again and again,
They ripen soon unguarded, unattended,
Without the sunshine and without the rain,
And at last I lose the battle unammended.
And in New Year Resolution he expresses vividly the sense of loss that he could not do anything worthwhile and in future he resolves to perform dynamic role to bang the holes that the container of his inner self has sustained owing to his negligence; he feels himself guilty by damaging the entrusted container and wants to return it intact and repaired though not filled; perhaps he alludes to the empty, perforated container of his actions.
I resolve nothing but to bang the holes,
Mend the perforated parts,
In the coming years; and bother not,
Whether I take,
The container filled or unfilled along.
The poetry of Muhammad Shanazar is not in any way less than that of the work of English speaking poets as compared to in standard, quality of thoughts as well as language. His splendid poetry is bound to attract due attention of the literary critics who would probe into depths and deep recesses to reveal more significance of his poetry. I deeply appreciate his effort, and would like to recommend and suggest to the subject specialists, experts and authorised representatives that his poetry duly deserves to be included in the courses at college and university levels. He must be patronized officially; it is a matter of deep concern to see indifference and unresponsiveness of the electronic and print media though he got stupendous achievements in the international poetry contests hosted by Voices Network from North Carolina that proudly recognized him one of the best poets affiliated with the organization. If we do not award him the due importance, later on perhaps we might only avail ourselves a chance to illuminate his grave, with erected epitaph with the contents:
Here lies helpless,
The unyielding Pride,
That neglected the Guide;
The chaser of lust,
The victim of blindness,
Lying mixed into dust,
Pleads for kindness.