Updated: May 5
It felt right to read and review Time & Knots by Taran Singh because there’s a handful of things that I cannot live without: poetry, nature, evolution, and musing over abstract concepts like time. Yes, these are a few of my favorite things — and all of them are inside this book of poetry.
Like many creators and artists in this digital age, Taran and I connected online. When Time & Knots published in 2018 and I was given the opportunity to review it here on índigo, I was excited — which may be self-evident being that I am a writer and poet myself. But I also love being able to read and share works of other poets.
Time & Knots is a collection of poems that are centered around seasons, time, nature, and evolution.
In his work, Taran Singh unravels pieces of the intricate concept of time and weaves them into a fresh tapestry of his own. This writer takes the relatable, even universally relatable, and spins it into unique and lovely poetics and rhythm.
The book splits in five parts, each named for a season: “Summer,” “Autumn,” “Winter,” “Spring,” and finally the final part titled “Void.” As you can imagine, each part focuses on that season’s theme, though it isn’t so overt that the season takes over each poem — able to stand alone with or without its neighboring entry or that specific section’s theme.
In my reading, the entries of the last section “Void” carry a more abstract tone, suggesting time as a non-linear construct. This brought me, as the reader, to a fresh perspective on time. Before reaching the first poem, the first pages quietly call your attention — intricate details you don’t want to miss on the cover and the table of contents’ minimal whimsy.
Gurmukhi script, of the Punjabi language, that accompanies the English text complements the flow of the book's art and words. In my opinion, when artists, writers, or any creators spotlight their language or culture, especially one that I probably wouldn't have been exposed to if I hadn't picked up their work, it establishes an even deeper connection between reader and author.
Singh digs deep to show how we as humans view time and its construct, how the planet’s endless nature follows an ever-going cycle of changes, and how planet and human can come together to create a space devoid of time all together. Within the earth, we can see ourselves, and within ourselves we can see the earth.
Here are a few of my favorite bits:
“We are animals of want
Our ante of love is cheap”
“Heera keeps me mesmerized with her mountain spirit,
her enduring mold, always the mortar of my core”
“The orbit will signal us to hold —
eclipsed dreams can heal
once we switch off our blazing lights.”
— “Halley’s comet”
"In flares of youth we set for stars,
build our cosmos by long shots.
In that expanding space,
delusion seeds easily."
— “Storm Drains”
"Despite burning, the hardened heart
learns to kneel."
"When dark night-waves pull in,
I learn: alone
we all whirl in the same
dusk and dawn."
Some poems rhyme and others don’t at all, leaving you to explore your own rhythm. Personally, I enjoy both types of poetry. When verses don’t carry an end rhyme, finding the rhythm within the poem is a fun process and makes the writing feel almost more personal to me, the reader; even though this poem is available to everyone and anyone, no one can recreate the personal rhythm I’ve applied nor can I recreate anyone else’s.
In my eyes, poetry is poetry no matter where the rhyming appears, if it does at all.
I like to compare the experiences like this:
Non-rhyming poetry is like driving a car in the street; you, the reader are driving the car and the poet’s words are the road. You are open to navigate the poems with your own rhythm.
Rhyming poetry is like riding a boat on the ocean; you the reader are driving the boat and the poet’s words are the waves. You navigate the boat but the waves play a huge ROLE in carrying you as well.
They may not be the best analogies, but either way, Time & Knots brings balance to the two experiences.
There is a magic within Time & Knots, in Singh’s poetry that I ironically can’t put into words. Vulnerability shines through every word and on every page there’s truth, carefully crafted and artfully executed. Maybe as I re-visit the book, re-read the stanzas, the words will come up... But Taran Singh’s poetry reminds me of a quote by another man...
“Nature does not hurry. Yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu
As I read it, Time & Knots became a fresh and much needed echo of Lao Tzu’s words;everything has its time. There’s no rushing or delaying, as nature and now this book teaches us.
Everything has its moment, its time;and for humans, every moment carries a memory that we make our own with emotion, our knots.
Coincidentally, my latest reading of this season-focused collection felt timely, as we are all entering a new state of being, a new cycle, as COVID-19 continues to be a part of our lives.
As much as humans want to reach beyond the natural world, this book REMINDS ME that humans are a part of nature. And while nothing is wrong with progress and reaching beyond what we already know, we cannot STRANGLE or force our evolution in to being;we cannot force ourselves out of nature, instead we can embrace the force of nature within us.
As the seasons change, I will be re-visiting Taran Singh's book of poetry and most likely add to this review. It’s a fabulous reminder that everything is fleeting, has the opportunity to change, evolve, and there’s beauty in that.
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