Where diversity reigns: From the spiritual to notion of love

Book facts : Seasoned Timber – Poems and Reflections by Fr. Claver Perera. Reviewed by Gaston de Rosayro

Seasoned Timber is a beautifully written compendium of enchanting spiritual reflections and theological perceptions by Fr. Claver Perera. The collection offers a veritable assortment of topics from the scriptural to Papal personalities, poets and propoundings on faith, trust and humanity.

The notion of love and human enterprise flows through the pages of each narrative and it is this diversity that enhances the book's appeal and quality.

Readers will not fail to perceive that the author’s outstanding and diverse literary gifts have found their most brilliant expression in this book. His subjects are handled with an incisiveness and intellect indicative of the highly-tuned instincts of an extraordinarily talented author. The work conveys the eclectic breadth and humanity of the author’s mind, combining an intricate mix of sensitivity and an almost imperceptible propensity for idyllic innovation.

Seasoned Timber is exceptionally good reading. It is one of those comfortable books that is nicely compartmentalized and to which you can return often. Because of its topical variance one is able to flip through the pages and begin reading randomly from any chapter that captures one’s fancy.

In many of these bagatelles he weaves a captivating mélange of enchantment, simplicity and timelessness into the tapestry of his literary mosaic. One is made aware of the extent to which language can be made concurrently a device of affection, accord and accolades to the deserving. In most of his sketches, he displays the ability to depict subtly an allegory of blissful decency and living style. There are echoes everywhere to bring back a now disintegrating culture and civilized age that the author attempts to preserve.

His portraits of his parents and immediate family almost spring to life. He adroitly depicts the life of his favourite Popes, saints and literary personalities with moving candour. He adds to these his own cheerful spirits, his gift for phrase and his sometimes hilarious intervention. In many cameos the author weaves his experiences around the setting when celestial veneration was the norm, virtually permeating the very fabric of a robust Catholic society.

The reader becomes almost rapturously involved in the wonder of Fr. Claver’s mission in unravelling the search for God in prayer and scriptures. While doing so he shares certain aching memories of an earlier time. As the chapters unfold, one cannot fail to be transfixed by the eloquent intensity of faith and the comforting sense of security of being surrounded by these simple religious values.

I am not particularly a fan of non-rhyming poetry, yet there is here something fluid and lyrical about the poems which although devoid of true rhyme are given a smoothly flowing rhythm which one finds unusual and more than compelling.

Fr. Claver is a talented conjurer of words, knows his social and religious history backwards and writes with a remarkable sensitivity. Many of his chapters provide an easy way to incorporate a modern viewpoint within a historic context. In others, he captures the dynamics of the hopes and expectations we bring to new loves and relationships with astounding candour, sprinkled with gentle bursts of light-hearted banter.

The author exudes a kind of indefinable charm, class and cultured writing style, rarely found among the present literary fraternity. He skilfully communicates the dire need for those eminent attributes of truth, honour and justice which communities have lost in the fitful fever of modern life. The combination of elements here is powerfully expressive as he dips into idyllic reverie, deftly enhancing for reading buffs those special elements of atmosphere and mood.

Fr. Claver’s is in addition a gifted artist and painter. Indeed, the cover of the book was designed by the author himself.

He has distinguished himself in the groves of academe and as an outstanding ecclesiastic, guru, theologian and administrator. In addition he is blessed with a terrific tenor voice and holds a remarkable record of training and forging several vocal groups into some of the nation’s finest choral ensembles. In essence, Seasoned Timber evokes echoes of the timbre of the author’s magnificent voice that helps embellish his literary expression with a sort of symphonic sweetness.

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