Epitaph and Other Poems by Ramachandran is a collection of 23 poems. The poet wrote these poems in his lifetime but never published them. It was discovered by his children, and then it got published. The collection commences with the poem Dawn, it’s intense and melancholic that narrates the plight of the poet who wishes to sleep eternally where no fresh dawn can wake him up. It suggests that life is really a tough struggle for him. However, on the plus side, dawn epitomes fresh start after dark phase of night.
The titular poem, Epitaph is class in itself. It describes that the poet’s life was full of difficulties, struggle, and disappointments. He deserves an epitaph on his tomb, to act as an example for others. If he could enjoy his death in peace, the relatives will take care of the scribbling on his tomb.
In most of the poems, the poet explored a dark theme of burdens and deeds that one carries in life. From the poems, it was evident that the poet was a tough person. He endured for others, he worked hard at the first given opportunity, yet life didn’t fair him well when it came to his trivial desires and contentment.
Anger, disparity, loneliness, love craving, vagaries of life are some prominent themes in the book. A regular reader of poetry will find a hallmark of life’s intricacies in the collection. Though the poet often used open words like skies, dawn, heart, memories and so on, but he doesn’t elude from ‘death’. He has a strong hunch it’s inevitable and will embrace him.
“Memories” is also a strong contending theme in many poems, where the narrator remembers his day of birth and people, brothers, and communities.
Overall, it’s a special sort of collection written many decades ago. Its intensity is terrific, so does its influence. I loved it for its melodramatic approach and subtle darkness. A powerful and accessible poetry collection! Nearly all poems are my favourite, I often read to escape from the hedonistic mundane.