Title: The Nest
Author: R Dale Biller
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Date of Publication: 25 July 2017
“Again, the story
the story is told
is told so bold
so bold its lost
its lost to them
to them and me
and me you see
you see Again”
A renewed retelling of the end times fiasco in chaotic Boschian terms.
Set on planet Earth in an unknown time frame at the brink of the earth’s destruction, Biller reconstructs the doomsday prophecy on the basis of a new kind of spiritual knowledge that is yet to be discovered by the mankind. The earthly existence has been through two evolutions and is now in its third day of survival after which it will inevitably perish. A Prophet is sent by a Divinity whose nature is yet undefined. They are referred to as the ‘Great Ones’. But they are a higher power that seeks to warn man of his end. The faith is termed as ‘aqua faith’ and water is the greatest metaphor that is all pervasive throughout the poem. While it is water which surrounds the embryo in the womb and acts as a basic necessity of man but in the poem this life sustaining substance turns into severe toxicity. This imagery is brought about by the river of flowing fire which engulfs completely the people residing beside it.
The imagery is highly metaphoric but starkly in contrast to what is expected. It is a quest narrative but not one in which there is a search till the end for the true self. Man has already degraded himself beyond proportions. It needs to return to the Divine and put its faith therein. There are no knightly battles to be fought on horseback and, hence, no treasures to be unraveled from the bounty of the earth. The Earth has already been over exploited and left exasperated for breath. The whole theme of the poem dangles between two breaths- a deep one that craves for fresh air to survive and the next that is purposely held back in order to meet a hasty end to an otherwise irreversible and painful ordeal of difficult survival. Pantheistic notions do not work any longer as the Earth has been distorted beyond recognition and has nothing more to offer. One can only save oneself through higher transcendence and by progressing the spiritual ladder.
There is a taste of Blake’s four Zoas. The descriptions are relayed in no particular sequence but as and how the narrative moves along. War is seen as the ultimate destroyer and must be overturned by hook or crook. That is Alvarius’ greatest task and challenge which will prove his true prophethood as the saviour of mankind. Nuances can be traced to Greek and Roman myths though it is hard to say which ones in particular. The ideas become a medley of several myths and prophecies. Alvarius is hard to define but has touches of Shelley’s Prometheus along with Milton’s Samson. Alvarius thinks aloud about his tasks at hand but he is never seen praying to the Gods or desperately seeking help. He merely goes about his work with a quiet dedication. Newer characters are added to the narrative like the matriarch Anqet, the Red Bird and the King who had a golden temple. These moralistic digressions only add to the metaphoric lessons within the poem. Though an experimental work, the thought behind the book is very original and so is the patterning of the work. Some very contrary set of words are placed together making the vocabulary interesting but thoughtful at the same time. Metaphors are juxtaposed upon metaphors. Moments are punctuated by the emotions of life and the need to integrate a collective desire of the civilisation to escape annihilation. This can only be achieved if the world learns to think in a unified manner.
The most interesting aspect is the code table that inaugurates the book. The poem is made up of several smaller poems whose titles are written in a coded language that needs to be deciphered by the readers as they go along the book. The equivalent English letters to the code language is listed on the opening pages(also seen on the cover page below the title). It makes the book almost like a secret pamphlet that readers have procured from somewhere. However, at several points the narrative gets so cryptic that it almost turns obscure leaving several interpretations possible. But again, it is this obscurity that brings together a large reading audience that is usually uninterested in epics of a spiritual nature. Biller states that it is this chaos that will give place to clarity eventually. At best the suspense is fascinating and at worst it is frustrating- to not be able to give even distant meanings to the common words and phrases. There is a constant mixture of prose and lyric. While the prose assists in sorting out the narrative, the lyrics are too metaphoric. It is not a casual easy read. It is time consuming and needs the reader to immerse deeply into the narrative. It is perhaps more to be felt than understood and certainly a lot to be thought over making it highly relevant.
“The idea is
that when we let our shadows or
darker energy console our future in
real time we create a world where
hope becomes our quote “Black tea
in the lush”. We lose the realization
of possibility and we miss out on the
grand opportunity. “All aspects of
the future must be respected to a
point of clarity” heard the world
from the dark clouds forming in the
distance. An Alvarius disguise.”
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