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A sad piper

by Omar Tarin

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A Sad Piper, a review    (2014-03-03)


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by Hamneto

Omer Tarin's poetry, it must be understood, is above all a spiritual experience, rendered into a creative, aesthetic form. ''A Sad Piper'', his first collection (1994, reprint   ) is also, therefore, a diverse articulation of this spirituality, implicitly or explicitly expressed in some 30 or so poems of varying length.

Omer Tarin's quest for understanding and self-knowledge enables him, here in this slim volume, to accept a process of constant, continuous growth, of transformation and transmutation carried on in

''Golden crucibles
That distill some weird alchemy
of the senses''

resulting in the product of

''the attar of my being
drenched in Byzantine

which is, in fact,

''a hermetic transmutation ordained
by the fluctuations of fatality''

Significantly, we have moments of childhood and adoloscence, where a tension of sorts is created by the contrasting images of beauty and youthful serenity, vis-a-vis defilement, corruption and even death:

''There was the bird that flew because its wings were young,
For it knew it could fly, no matter if its young wings were untried''

and so

''We saw the rising moon
and the dance the Pleiades danced...''

which is contrasted with the sad cutting down of the trees of his childhood

''They did it pat
like some old
remembered rhyme
the lopping of the trees;
I heard them cry out--
I heard them cry out in pain,
the tortured trees
under the executioner's axe''

and the image of the dead 'carrion crows'

on barbed wire
hanging in silent frieze
against the twilight''

Out of these contrasts and 'counterpoints' we see emerging the remarkably vivid and lyrically moving landscapes of his verse,

''Of my own salt, these hills are made
I am made of them-
Grey stone
Red dust
Black wash-
From the jagged edge I look down
the land stares up at me''

''A Sad Piper'' is, in many ways, a seminal book, a highly autobiographical one that traces a range of emotive responses and experiences mingling the euphoric and the painful history of the poet's early life in highly candid and, sincere terms. It also points the way to the subsequent maturity of Tarin's later art. Already, the poet's eye is honing itself to the future insights of  ''The Anvil of Dreams'', ''Burnt Offerings'' and beyond.

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