124 N. Lancaster St.
Athens, OH 45701
What is most remarkable about P.K. Padhy’s poetry is his ability to express so much by saying so little. The Tiny Pebbles exhibits his aphoristic style, in which he succinctly captures both the beauty and grace of everyday life and the socioeconomic injustices suffered by the oppressed and underprivileged. For example, “Budding Value” and “Rain” portray nature as a cyclical and perpetual provider and describe the way in which it replenishes the human spirit while simultaneously existing outside the power of finite beings. “Street Man,” “Slogan,” and “Metro Life” subtly note the cold impersonality of city life, showing the way that its daily tribulations can weigh on the souls of the individual, and as a result, of the community. “Child Laborer” and “Hygienic Ostentation” emphasize the overwhelming power of a person’s ascribed status to inhibit upward mobility and to stunt proper emotional growth.
In poems like “Injustice,” “Humanism,” and “Life,” Padhy seeks to complete the age-old task of the poet: giving abstract ideas a concrete face. The word “injustice” becomes odorous, palpable, and altogether more real as a shattered bottle of milk lying at someone’s doorstep. The word “life” both begins to delight and repulse the eyes when people transform into hungry crows being thrown crumbs as alms on the street. The philosophy of “humanism” stops being simply a way of thought when it is described as the rhythmic beat that eternally pulsates through the roots of the human forest.
Aphorisms often exist as adages, expressing general truths about life gained from years of wisdom in hopes of instructing people towards humility, generosity, and moderate lifestyles. The writer of an aphorism sometimes assumes the stance of a preacher at the pulpit, but not in the case of Padhy. While some of his poems do contain gems of advice, he is far from a didactic writer. Although his poems may be interpreted as political or partisan, I believe such readings would be misguided. Rather than a campaigner, Padhy is a reporter, or recorder, who paints the landscape of suffering as he sees it and takes snapshots for a scrapbook of the human condition. Each poem is an open-ended and stand-alone strain of Padhy himself, allowing for a wide variety of reactions from readers daring enough to face an examination of their conscience.
*Ryan Kelly is an American teacher, writer, and editor who was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He currently lives and learns in the small town of Athens, Ohio, where he works as a member of Ohio University’s English Department.