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Azsacra Zarathustra’s fame and greatness as a poet is based on the clarity of his exceptional vision. Nowhere is this better displayed than in his latest collection Tao Kampf. As a poetic artist, Azsacra is able to pack his thought in the fewest possible words. Several poems in Tao Kampf leave no doubt in our minds that Azsacra Zarathustra is ‘mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies’:

the drop of dew
killed
the nectar
(DROPS OF TAO)

kill them
with the Void of
stone!
(KILL!)

by Itself
is being burnt
the Sun!
(CHINK)

and tiger heard
the Music of
the Cross
(MUSIC OF THE CROSS)

T. S. Eliot aptly remarks that the poet’s mind is a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles, which can unite to form a new compound are present together. The exulting, reverent, and grateful perception of these ‘numberless feelings’ inspires Azsacra to sing about leopard’s ‘mystic traceries’ (“Leopard For Dancer”), bees flying out of ‘secret petals’ ( “Without Beginning”), tiger hearing ‘the music of the Cross’ (“Music of the Cross”). Like Ezra Pound’s Mauberley, Azsacra is striving ‘to resuscitate the dead art \ Of poetry: to maintain the sublime \ In the old sense’. After reading the following lines, it is evident that like Mauberley, Azsacra ‘fishes by obstinate isles’ to unravel primitive emotions and strong impulse:

withered grass
believed
in dew
(TRANCE OF TEARS)

Save yourself
with stabs of
knife
(SAVE YOURSELF)

longing for Life
be more Terrifying than
Death
(SO SPOKE MAPLE LEAF)

No doubt, Azsacra’s Tao Kampf can only be enjoyed in its own terms, because these innovative poems provide a new start to the history of world poetry. Dr. Johnson very aptly says: “Every new genius produces some innovation which, when invented and approved, subverts the rules which the practice of foregoing authors had established.” The unusual beauty of Azsacra’s poetry is the unfolding of new forms which are fresh, new and spontaneous, not hampered by stale convention and decorum. Oswert Sitwell wisely says, “You cannot write well in the idiom of the day before yesterday.”

Azsacra’s collection Tao Kampf is illuminated by a fresh exploration of reality which is imperishable, ineffable, omnipresent, and eternal. Lao Tzu reveals his experience of the ‘Valley Spirit’ in the following lines:

The Valley Spirit never dies.
It is called the Mysterious Female.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
Is the base from which Heaven and Earth spring.
It is there within us all the time.
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.

The post-war disruption of European civilization forces Azsacra to escape towards ‘Void of the stone’ and ‘Music of the Cross’, assisted by Buddhagrace and Zen masters. All poems included in Tao Kampf seem to say: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment: Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition”, and “Push far enough towards the Void” (Lao Tzu).

The emotional effect of Azsacra’s poetry is incalculable, with its amazing intensity. His imagination moves on a gigantic plane, and this vastness of vision is presented constantly before the readers. It has been possible because Azsacra’s attitude towards life is not confined to dualism or non-dualism. ‘Positionless Position’ – These two words perhaps come nearest to describe so subtle and so delicate poet’s philosophy. This characteristic is the main inspiration for these poems in Tao Kampf, which may be described a riddle or puzzle (koan). These poems with a majestic sweep and cadence are full of meditational experiences and insight. Unlike philosophers like Descartes, Kant, Kierkgaard and Sartre, Azsacra feels that reason alone is incapable to understand this ‘unintelligible world’. This ‘anti-philosophy’ attitude is quite evident in several poems which seem to transcend the state of Buddhahood by ‘erasing traces of enlightenment’: “the drop dew \ killed the \ nectar”.

Dr. Santosh Kumar

Santosh Kumar (b. 1946) is a poet, short-story writer and an editor from UP India; DPhil in English; Editor of Taj Mahal Review and Harvests of New Millennium Journals; several awards; member of World Poets Society (W.P.S.); member of World Haiku Association, Japan; presented papers in the seminar, interviews as special guest at international literary festival WORDS – one path to peace and understanding Oslo, Norway in September 2008; attended 20th Annual International Literary Festival Druskininkai Poetic Fall and 5th World Haiku Association Conference in Lithuania, Sept 30 to Oct 5, 2009; published poetry in Indian Verse by Young Poets (1980), World Poetry (1995 & 1996), The Fabric of A Vision (2001), The Still Horizon (2002), The Golden Wings (2002), Voyages (2003), Symphonies (2003), New Pegasus (2004), Explorers (2004), Dwan (USA), Promise (Purple Rose Publications, USA), World Haiku 2008 No. 4, World Haiku 2009 No. 5, Taj Mahal Review (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008). He has also edited sixteen World Poetry Anthologies, and four books of World’s Great Short Stories. He is also the author of a collection of poems entitled Helicon (Cyberwit, India, ISBN 81-901366-8-2), Haiku collection New Utopia (Rochak Publishing, India ISBN 978-81-903812-0-8), NO NUKES: Brave New World of Beauty, A Long Narrative Poem, Songs of Peace & Haiku (Rochak Publishing, India ISBN 978-81-903812-3-9), and Critical Essays in collaboration with Adam Donaldson Powell (Cyberwit, India, 978-81-8253-110-9). He has also edited The Poetic Achievement of Ban’ya Natsuishi (Cyberwit, India, ISBN: 978-81-8253-149-9).

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