Pensive Musings
Kiran Doshi
SNOWFLAKES OF TIME by Kanwal Sibal Bloomsbury, 2016, 205 pp., 399
April 2019, volume 43, No 4

Snowflakes of Time is a collection of about a hundred poems divided into eight sections, presumably to separate them by themes. The author is a former Foreign Secretary of India. The compartments are not watertight. The sadness of ‘Time passed’ and ‘What might have been’ runs through a good number of poems in different sections. Also what the writer calls his communion with nature.

Nature holds the centre stage in the ten poems in ‘Moscow Musings’, the first and the richest of the sections.  Written in Moscow in the writer’s mellower years, which turned out to be also his ‘most fecund’ years, each of the poems is a gem. Together they conjure up for us a land as wintry, vast and unforgettable as the one that formed the backdrop to Omar Sharif in Dr Zhivago.  Here is a sample from ‘Asleep in February’:

The ground huddled itself
Beneath a thick white quilt
Pulling it over its limbs . . .

And this:

With wipers of his mind he tries
To clear the constant spray of grime
That from the passing traffic flies
As he rolls through flurries of time.

—‘The Car Ride’


Perhaps not every poem in the sections that follow is crafted so skillfully, but there are gems to be found in every section.  Take ‘The Fingertips of Memory’ from the section titled ‘Memories’:

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