The Tears of Frost

Reviewer: R. P. Chaddah
Poem:  The Tears of Frost
Writer : Kanwar Dinesh Singh
Publisher: Hyphen Publications, Shimla. 
Year: 2010
Pages: 128
Price: Rs. 175
The Tears of Frost is the latest publication from the pen of Kanwar Dinesh Singh. His love for poetry in English bears an ample testimony from the number of books he has published till date. For his efforts he has been honoured with a Sahitya Akademi Award – 2002 (Government of Himachal Pradesh). He is also the founding editor of Hyphen, An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Art and Culture. Haiku is an important Japanese poetic form that follows strict rules of composition. It is imagist and highly evocative in character. It gives expression to a fleeting thought on the transitoriness of life, encompassing the Zen philosophy. Since the 19th century Zen has been a guiding influence on Japanese art, literature and life itself. The great master of haiku was Matsuo Basho (1644-94), the recent masters of haiku are Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens.

In the present collection there are more than one hundred haiku and Dinesh strictly employs the 5-7-5 syllable structure and his haiku celebrate the vibrant seasons of Shimla in particular:

The butterflies dance

From flower to flower

O, what a romance!


An obscure fog screen

Compose yourself, wait and watch

A refreshing scene


Behold fallen leaves

Unheeded, become vagrant

The unvoiced peeves.

Dinesh’s penchant for alliteration and assonance becomes all too apparent when we carefully go through the following haiku and he consciously uses these devices for effect:

Glorious sunrise

The blissful beams brightening

The whole of skies


Grey lackluster skies

The sudden streaks of sunlight

A brilliant prize!

Going through Dinesh’s poetic effusions, the present reviewer is reminded of the years he spent in the Shimla of yore, now the present-day Shimla is altogether different. I have watched the snow-water fused with ‘tears of frost’ and also the spring’s jotter.  The ‘red rhododendrons, regaining a high colour’, we always looked forward to with the coming of March. The poet has gone in for an innovative attempt, unlike the conventional Japanese haiku, the first line rhyming with the third line. The contents lead us to the particular sights and scenes which we want to read and enjoy at a particular time and in a frame of that special mood:

The yellow dandruff

Sicken deodars and pine trees

All inflicting cough.


Meditate on fate

Leaves going steady with winds

Over a blind date.


Blind uncanny road

The enigmas of nature

Discover  and decode!

The haiku of Dinesh have a certain literary merit and they have the power to give the reader the pangs of nostaligia for the once-upon-a-time Shimlaites and something is there for the tourists to look for when they visit Shimla and its surrounding beauties of nature.


R. P. Chaddah

# 3249, sector 21-D



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