The book, 'Sesh Sarga,' a collection of 74 poems, starts with expressions of the poet's very personalised feelings, depressingly decorated with all his solitude, agony, melancholy, despair and on top that, the longing for the reincarnation of a dear one he lost in a tragic accident nearly two decades ago.
That the poet is waiting eagerly to reunite with the love of his life takes centre stage in the book with titles like 'Ami Opekkha Korchi', 'Mrityur Jonyo Opekkha', 'Nirlipto Opekkha' and 'Protikkha'.
The silent wailings, intensified by Ali's measured control over the sweet Bangla language, and his sentient choice of words, are so compelling that they can offer earnest readers a cathartic journey.
However, it would be a mistake to perceive 'Sesh Sarga' as merely a mirror to miseries and mournings only.
Ali, though mostly known to his pupils as an idealistic educator and an avid learner, is equally a master at penning down verses, when it comes to spreading inspiration. And hence, his book is much more than a dejected canvas stained with personal bleakness.
This is particularly reflected in a poem titled 'Rogshojjay Bondhur Proti,' where the poet invokes references, ranging from the paintings of Frida Kahlo to the serenity of nature, to a friend who is bedridden. The purpose was to inspire the friend to fight back the predicament that put the friend in bed.
The struggles of the contemporary world also found their way into the book; the coronavirus pandemic predominantly got the lion's share of priority for its proximity to the period when most of these poems were put into words.
The disturbances and distresses of urban life are another recurring theme of a number of poems, depicted through the lens of a seemingly lonely and weary old man, who, in his own words, is now waiting for the inevitable death.
He doubled down on it on multiple occasions with poems titled 'Kobir Mrityu', 'Mouter Duare Kora Nere Jabo' and 'Mrityur Jonyo Opekkha'.
Perhaps, these titles also explain the naming of the book as 'Sesh Sarga', which translates in English into 'The Last Chapter.'
From the book's title on the cover as well as the themes and motifs of the poems inside, one can deduce that the poet – fifth year into his retirement from teaching and another 18 years since the untimely demise of his wife Dr Sitara Parvin – is counting his days, and feels as though he is living on borrowed time and is unsure of having more time in hand to prepare a manuscript for another book.
Or, simply maybe, he is no longer interested in turning the pages for the next chapter of his literary career, irrespective of the certainty of his physical longevity in the world, because he has already seen the death of the poet that used to reside in him.
Whatever the case might be, 'Sesh Sarga' offers the most satisfying experience for any reader ready to embark on a voyage through the whole gamut of human emotion, and will surely leave them wanting for more.
And so, we can only hope 'Sesh Sarga' is not the end of Ali as a poet, but a stepping stone to more of his literary work.
Published by Mazharul Islam for Anyoprokash in February 2023, 'Sesh Sarga' is available for purchase at the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela, and in the major online bookstores of Bangladesh.