Book Reviews

Flares of Love: Dialectics of Heart and Soul

Flares Of Love
Poets: Shekhar Tiwary & Arti Rai
ISBN: 9789385945311
Publisher:, Allahabad
Pub. Date: 2016, Rs. 200(INR)

Flares of Love by Shekhar Tiwari and Arti Rai is a beautiful collection of love poems dealing with different aspects of human love, intense romance and profound philosophy of life. These poems, simple, loving, passionate and sensuous, are a self-revelation with impassioned tone: a romantic and spontaneous expression of varied moods, feelings and experiences. With an insightful Foreword by Dr Bam Dev Sharma, a himself renowned poet, the book is a joint venture of looking at love from both the perspectives- male and female. Their poetry is an experiential odyssey of feeling joy and pleasure of being in love. In the Foreword, Dr Sharma rightly mentions – “Their distinct images embody peculiarities in their poems: the blessing of heart gets submerged with the body—as if the rivers are heading to the confluence to soothe into infinite semblance of love......the confluence where the poets lose their individual self in order to equalize with greater orgasm of love, extolling the joy and supremacy of it.” Desires, longing, yearnings, pining etc find a sublimated expression in the anthology which best represents the androgynous voices of love and humanity.

Love is a common and recurrent theme of the poems by the duo. It is the most delicate and tender form of feeling and emotion. As the highest and nobles emotions, it inspires, stirs, moves and delights us in numerous ways. Love alone can save our soul. It thrives as a perfect sensibility for it finds its primary source from the male psyche and feminine heart. In the poetry of Tiwari love has got a male voice, while it gets its sweetness in the lyrics of Arti Rai. Both the poets express the emotions of lovers in a language laced with metaphor, similes, personification and hyperbole. Philosophical vein on the ineffable beauty of some eternal matter in nature is also underlying. Dr Sharma also writes that their ‘....poetic landscape is not just rife with the passionate love, but love that makes living a perfect holistic quest for life.’

Tiwari is a man of wider experience, of poetic sensibility. He treads into the realm of love to explore its vast riches. His poems deal with varied aspects of love and life. Unification of sensibilities is a crucial device employed in his poetry. For Tiwari, East-West connection is symbolic of the union of heart and mind, man and woman, body and soul. In “What If”, he lifts the ‘mischievous veil’ of inhibitions and reveals:

Dual codes of morality
Of the east and
The west
And rest in thy embrace

He calls his relationship and love ‘an eternal end/a faith or a miracle’ which guides and guides them towards ‘a beautiful beginning’. His “An Emotion Strange!” is a beautiful expression of the power of love. He points out-

Love is powerful, though it is blind
Bereft of shape, without a mind.
It can ride the highest mountains,
Can wait past a lifetime.
Distance is measured in furlongs

‘Kiss’ and ‘embrace’ are the physical and intimate expression of his love- Romantic love. ‘Lap’, ‘rose’, ‘garden’, ‘cries of cuckoo’, ‘grass’, ‘flowers’, ‘sky’, ‘serene clouds’, ‘silken lips’, ‘fanciful dreams’, ‘breeze’, ‘honey’, ‘naughty eyes’, ‘body’, ‘rain’, ‘beauty’, ‘cozy heart’ etc are the expressive gestures of his poetry of romanticism.

Devotional aspect of love is another feature of his writings. His thoughts on love, romance, longing and yearning shift from physical plains to metaphysical zenith. His quest transcends the body to get cocooned in soul. In his poem “Human God”, he imagines himself to be in the footsteps of Krishna to remain ecstatic in the tight embrace of love –‘You covered me/With Meera's love /And I became/Unborn God/Your God.’ This sort of sort has an uplifting expression of humanity and its expansion in the desolate world.

Sensuousness is an important aspect of Tiwari’s love poetry. Exploration of sensuous realm of life through the purgatory process of love or love making is quite palpable in his poems of love. He lets us peep into the secret chamber where love culminates into an inexplicable unification of soul on the ecstatic bed of life. Love act has been sensuously exploited in the following lines from the poem “Essence”:

We merged
Into the body
Of warm embrace
Lips rested on

As if
the heaven smiled
At glossy flowers
And found
same essence
in Human beauty

Merging of souls is a dominating theme of some of his poems. His ‘Thoughts wander/In the jungle/Of real truth. ‘The natural landscape with ‘tall mountains’, ‘deep valleys’, ‘crimson sun’, ‘morning dews’, chirping crickets, ‘caws calling’ etc touch ‘Heart more than/ mind’. “Merged” reflects this merging process of natural phenomena-

Like the sun merges
Into the moon
Or the moon
Becoming one
With the sun in submission
Rain drops merge
With flowing river
River with mighty ocean
Like the Sun and the Moon
Like you and me
In oneness...

Beauty of his love is found in the deep eyes of his beloved. Love at first is the crux of the poem “The First Meet”. Memories are forever ensconced in the core of his consciousness. He still remembers ‘Eyes had a clash/That lives still green and fresh’.

Another beautiful poem is “The Papiha” which talks about ecstasy of love. Through metaphors and symbols the poet creates the intensity of ecstatic love of a siren heart. With feeling of purity he croons-

An ecstatic love
Rises internally
In union
With turbulent waves
Of utter separation
Travels in dark corners
Of our hearts
Competing the Cuckoo
And the Nightingale
Calls lovers to
Wake up and unite
Feel the purity

The theme of union in love is further carried in his next poem “Eureka” which contains the strains of deep philosophy. True, ‘We all merge / In someone / Something / Losing ourselves / To gain ourselves”. The poet goes on reiterating:

We appear outside
But live inside
As bodies

Kneaded in ecstasy
Surge in breath
The breath lives on
Merges Into
The Being
Like a bubbling
River with
An ocean front.

He is aware of the way of the world. He expresses his bewilderment at the puzzle of human predicament in the world infested with insensitive people as ‘We live in/Making /The world believe/We too /Sometimes /Flow /With the / Current streams /The world of duality /Where love is/Crime /And crime is/ Love’. He feels saddened to see the naked reality of the world because “Here Sita is/ Banished in/Many jungles/ And Meera /Is thrown /Of no guilt /But for a Serene love.’ Nevertheless, his love is not ‘a resident /Of ‘poised peninsula’..’ and he promises to maintain and sustain the worship and sanctity of his love at any cost. He vows to keep love burning in his heart with this proclamation and affirmation-

You are a fire
that burns to feed
My hungry heart
my love! Remember
You and me shall take
Life in words
On the white sheets
Of printed papers
Bound in hard covering
Called ‘A Book Of Verses '
I den and rebel
And here I announce
I am yours
As nail and finger.

Tiwari has intense quest for love. He is ‘Devoted to an unknown / immensely / With body, mind and soul’. In this way, we see that Tiwari’s poetry is an amalgamation of sensuality and spirituality, celebration of body and soul, a kind of unification of sensibility hankering after getting at the realm of oneness after merger and union. His beloved is to him Valentine, Radha, Meera and Cleopatra. His poetry is an exploration of body, mind and soul and this is evident in his second last poem “Sleep is Not Enough, My Love”.

Love has found its female voice in form of Arti Rai, an emergent poet who regards it a way of life. She is also an explorer of life and love. Her feminine sensibility is resonant everywhere in her poems. Her ‘beginning” highlights the creative impulse of love-

We could write all
Songs of our life
Living through life
You as you, and
Me as me
Why not we be we
To read this life
To know all love

In this world abuzz with countless, useless activities of mind and money, she listens to her heart and enjoys the enchanting beauty of nature, and feels ecstatic in the close company of her love and wonderfully romantic thoughts. Her suggestive approach is well expressed in her “The Starry Night”-

let us not forget this place
it is a heaven grant boon, we adore
a place away from noise and bore.
Till the body, mind and soul depart from us
we shall long and love each other without fuss

All the stars of the night reflect her mood and present a beautiful picture and images of love for pouring upon her ‘blazing soul’ quietly quenching her thirst and quest of life. She has a vision of love in ‘idol’,’ preachings of the saints’, , ‘holy hymns’, ‘manly warmth of embrace’ etc. ‘In “I See You Everywhere”, she happily exclaims-

O ! I feel your celebratory being!
In the atomies of the air
O !I feel you everywhere!!

‘cherry lips’, ‘honey dipped voice’, ‘cupid clouds’, ‘dove’, ‘winning smiles’, ‘green grass’,’ flowers’, ‘birds’, ‘handshakes’,’ embrace’,’ fragrance’, ‘arms, ‘heat’, ‘eyes’, ‘breath’, ‘summer’, ‘spring’, ‘roses’,’ soul;’, ‘body’, snowflakes’, etc are the objects that evoke mixed feelings in readers.

She is a poet of bold stand. She is self-assertive and never feels inhibited to express her unbridled emotion. She daringly declares her love in “The World”-

Listen! The world notices
You on my forehead
Where you crown like
A diamond of the princess’s crown.
See! The world waits for you
To become my king undisputed
only and one...

“How Silly” speaks volumes of silent and genuine love in which only eyes converse, going deep down the lovelorn heart and soul without any physical touch, walking straight together but in ‘lovely walks’. However, she reveals-

But we are in love
That is silent
Searching a tongue
But we know
No speech

How funny still we are
We are in genuine love!

Worldly things don’t matter to her because she is ‘fused into one.... with no distinct boundaries’. She wishes to be submerged in the ocean of love without which she is ‘all hollow.’ Her romanticism meanders through many trajectories of thoughts and fanciful imaginations. The romance she nurtures often transports her to a different world where love is a powerful king who rules the roost. She shares her innermost experiences of ecstatic love in “Romances of The Last Night”-

.......I 'm stuck in jungle,
Green wood of your wavy arm,
Lost ! I seek a great pleasure
Oblivious of the reality
Of mundane, unquiet life.

Mesmerized in hue
Blissful swing
In your Heavenly Cradle
Of love of the last night!

In “A New You” she feels ‘an intimate but wild desire/Chased by the inevitable reign/ Of eternal tranquillity’. She is excited to explore the essence of love in “Silence” and desires to get submerged into love. Her love is ensconced on her lips, in her ‘gleaming warmth/Of frozen love, layers of ice’, in her writings, in her thoughts, ‘.....everywhere/In the vast expanse’ of her crazy heart.

The poet sometimes gets philosophic and starts musing over transience of everything in life. Even love is transient, yet the beauty of love as essence of life is everlasting. With a beautiful metaphor of rainbow, she brings home her point in the poem “Your Love, My Love”-

Your love, a rainbow
Beautiful but short in existence.

A shadow that falls, and daylight
That dies, a delight to vision
This is how I sum up

The gist Of your love, of my love.

Her clarion call to her love is a recurrent plea in most of her poems. However, in some other poems, her indecisiveness is also visible, though indirectly. Sense of insecurity in love lingers in veil. For putting true love to test, she gets suggestive in the poem “Though We Have Fallen In Love” that love, if really strong and intense, will be-

......carved as mark
Even after long passage of rolling years
Or its traces be no longer found
No leftover of ashes.

Her poems are profound musings of love; they sprinkle showering warmth on soul as they spring out from the depth of her heart. She heightens its intensity in the following lines of “My Poems” which reflect and show some melancholic strains-

You know my poems
Are pervasive dialogue
Uttered in joy
And penchant tragedy
In the saga of
distress and sorrow
As soon as you are gone!

Familial and spousal love takes preponderance over any other kind of love in life. She better knows it. She believes in the safest and most secured enclosure of love. She says in “Laxman Rekha”- ‘Your love has drawn /In a configuration/A Laxman Rekha /Or a line of control /Or a lofty boundary. ‘To her outside the family there is nothing to be explored or desired for. Her Indian sense and sensibility as a woman is reflected well in above lines.

Other times, she becomes nostalgic and feels the unbearable absence of a special presence during the moments of festivity. “On This Festival of Light”, she expresses her wishes-

I wish you would play
The game of hide and seek
Among the glittering lamps
In cheers of past delight
I dream of you..

A feminine heart often tends to be vulnerable to sudden pangs and pain. As a woman, she begins to feel like a ‘a breathless fish’ in the absence of her love. She bemoans in “Wounded”-

I wail and pathos
Fill my paining heart.
Pangs for being unloved
Kills me.
Now I am a bleeding fish
Dying for water
Though submerged.

At some places, her helplessness, restless and emptiness are also expressed. She gets tired of waiting for her lover. She is so madly in love that she cannot bear his absence. She captures such mood swings in poems such as “I am Tired” and “Oasis”. Love is to her an oasis of serenity, tranquillity and comforts. Fond memories also do linger between the lines of her poetry, full of nostalgic feeling. Parting or absence is always painful. This sadness is palpable and can be felt in her poems.

Love has a healing touch. It can cure even a chronic wound. Hence, she appeals to her love in her last poem “Come Like A pain Killer”-

Come tonight
Like a Pain Killer
Touch my wounded body
Heal momentarily
For I shall rise tomorrow
in a painless pain
For I shall sleep tonight
In an illusion
Of being cured. .

It is apparent from the analysis of the poems under review that both the poets are emotionally matured, romantically pure, metaphysically insightful, and creatively agile and vibrant. Love as expressed in the poems with artistic and creative, romantic and spiritual, semantic and aesthetic fervour, is the most powerful means of symbiosis, synergy and sustainibility for seeking emotional fulfilment in life. In this cotext, the anthology is a wonderful presentation as a dialogue of love. Dr Sharma remarks-‘......brilliant images combine the ethereal with physicality: love with emotion, universe human hearts if they are just witnesses to see instilling sense of intimacy capsized by love.’

After highlighting the beauty of the poems of Flares Of Love, a few remarks must be made as a suggestion so as to make it more attractive in its next edition. The book has slight negative things which could have been avoided. It is full of spelling mistakes and errors. Arrangement of poems and even the sequence of the titles look awkward. It lacks variations. The poems are replete with thematic and semantic repetitions. Some/same lines and stanzas are repeated in a few poems, may be inadvertently The range is limited. The sequence of poems is unjustified. Both the poets somehow manage to maintain the poetic flow but in treatment of the content some emotional restraint was required. Nevertheless, all the poems here are the emotional outbursts of humane heart and anything from heart is innocent, candid, impeccable and worth appreciation. This holds true in case of this anthology. Flares of Love must keep on burning the evils of mind and the world and rekindle the deep feeling of heart to illumine the land of soul in the World which has turned into a den of insensitive people. Love, harmony, peace are godsends of the Divine. Hence, we must love each other, be it friend or foe.


More by :  Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar

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