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Sparrow and Other Poems


The Poetic Spectrum and Dimension of
Poet Mahendra Bhatnagar

Mahendra Bhatnagar, born in 1926 at Jhansi in Uttar-Pradesh, is one of those poets who write not only in Hindi, but try to translate into English the best of his poems from time to time. A nature poet, he marks mysticism in each and every object of the wide world which he views, comes to feel it personally. Exotic flora and fauna, nature in bloom and the seasons with specific scenes and sights take the canvas away from the poet and he longs for an utterance as the outburst of songs. The six seasons and the shift in time, thought and scene tempt him for poetic delvings. Nature poems as a work is inclusive of all he seeks to penetrate and perceive. The first poem in the series tells of the herald of delight in the form of clouds gathering, darkening to shower forth:

"Rain has started,
Rain has started!
The thick clouds
Began to surge,
The bright blackish beauty
spread all around!"

Clouds and rains give relief and joys, shading the heat which appears to be baffling and unruffling the dust. Painted against such a backdrop, the poet pictures the scenery and the landscape. The clouds as the harbinger of delight sometimes save man from sizzling heat and swirling dust.

His attachment is one with life, nature and the world as because something it is that he wants to play with and repose in :

"As the day breaks —
Little and gentle birds
wake and get rise me up
peeping curiously
and chirping melodiously
through doors and windows!"

His rambles, roamings and loiterings; his purview of nature and its landscapes take him away from this world of busy schedules, routined living, dull and drob dwelling of our mechanical thinking. The poet at least spares some of his time to devote it to the writing of a series of nature poems. The nature poems which they have come to us tumbling or wringing out of the Hindi counterparts are all about his photographic snapping, picturesque detailing, perceivable joy and reflective thinking which he seeks to incorporate in this work of a bunch of poems, dealing with the serene and dazzling beauties of nature. Somewhere the jasmine keeps him awe-struck with its fascinating spray of scent, somewhere the Indian belli bloom calling to take a whiff of its scent. The poet lover is madly in love. Herein the sensuous quality of the poet can be marked and taken into consideration. Mahendra Bhatnagar is pursuing his art and craft as Francis Thomson and M.N. Sharma take their own recourse.

Mahendra Bhatnagar, apart from being bewitched, charms others with floral beauty, scenery and sensuousness of his poetry. Such an aspect is but a Keatsian feature. We may consider the poem ‘Bewitched’ as for our deliberation:

“You are a deep puzzle,
O, creeper-jasmine!
From where
you brought
such fascinating fragrance
to your flowers /  in your body!”

As the title of the bunch itself states for, so there is nothing as to debate and discuss it. The pictures of summer, rainy, winter, light winter, autumn and spring seasons seen against different purviews and portrayals speak of the general and individual mode and trend of writing. In ‘Exuberance’, once again the beauty of a fine evening has been painted against the backdrop of the imagery of a maiden, wetting and trembling:

“The evening,
Caught between light and shade
The rain falls,
The sky drizzles!”

Most of the poems which lie included in Nature Poems are picturesque, scenic, landscapic and  lyrical no doubt. The poet has succeeded in drawing the pictures and images of Nature, the panorama of seasonal world-view and the mysticism connected with it.

Mahendra Bhatnagar's nature poems are the poems of natural beauties seen against the backdrop of six seasons. An Indian poet, he draws scenes from the picturesque shift in mood, time, temperament and scenery. A bilingual poet, he has been trying his best to wring out the best of Hindi poetry into the realms of English, and that too Indian English poetry. The poems which they have come tumbling down to us are without any doubt the beauties of nature and the world. If one has not read, one will miss the joys of reading. The poet writes keeping in view scenery, landscape, loveliness and finery. There is nothing to be repelled by. Loving is one of the finest poems ever jotted down by the poet :

In this season of joviality
Why sad?

Such is the poetic heart of Dr. Bhatnagar that he can take a red rose for his if not the missus, definitely the sweetheart to whom wants he to reveal the whole of his heart. To express in such a way is but the colourful romanticism of the poet. A few of the poets can really touch the heart as Bhatnagar has been doing all through his poetic lines and overflows. Dawn is another beautiful write-up which can really astonish us with its charming capacity, fair illustration and  sweet diction,  rarely to  be found :

the blanket
of the cosmos
the dawn!

The poem is no doubt good, but the imagery tends to be bending to man-woman relationship. Dawn and Song of the Dawn are almost alike, but the latter is more powerful than the former in colour, beauty and presentation. One can see it that there are a few which deal with the dawn-time. So, the titles tally with and this is just a note of caution to be on the guard of committing mistakes. The mysticism, romanticism we have been searching to put on display is there in the poem The Dusk  by name. It is really a very beautiful description of how the evening descends by the hillocks. The poet follows the Indian calendars for depicting the drizzling time, not with the bolt from the blue, but with showers, specifically the months of Shravan and Bhadra.

Nature poems from Bhatnagar deal with the beauties prevalent in Nature, the colour, dream and fragrance of flowers, the sweetness bestowed upon. To be a Nature poet into be a lover of Nature and the poet perceives the intrinsic relationship between the two. With the change in time and season, the moods and sentiments go changing and this is not all. Even the feelings and emotions of man take a turn. The spring season the flowers in bloom, the sweet cooings and twitterings of song-birds and sparrows take him away from the dim and bustle of life, the sick and hurry. The poet comes to mark, feels within and relays to all through the manuscript. What the senses perceive, the poet scripts in to register his presence. Kachanar is one such which really takes the imagination and fancy of ours through its finely sweep :

For the first time
at my door
so bloomed Kachanar
overwhelmed with joy
every branch overloaded!

Mahendra Bhatnagar first writes in Hindi then he translates into English which is no less than like writing in English. To sidetrack his poetry is to dampen the spirit of translation studies and transcreation. In one poem after another, included in Nature Poems, he has presented them afresh to be put into an English garb of expression. Had he not contributed, we would have definitely missed an exponent from the realms of Hindi poetry.

Today we talk of ecocriticism and ecology-laced  nature poems and keeping it in our view, his poems open our eyes as well as the horizon of new studies which we ought to have stressed upon earlier. The poet sees the world around, catches up with scenes and sights to flash upon the stuffs of his poetic selection. The beauty of the six seasons, namely spring, summer, rainy, light winter, winter ad autumn, take the canvas away from the poet and he feels lifted away. The seasons in beauty, dream, reflection and situational reality twitch him for an expression. Most of the poems which he has put in for our scrutiny and perusal touch he dreamy side of presentation and the writer of these lyrics seems to be an escapist. A lover of Nature, a mystic, he dwells afar, goes about floating and dreaming, searching beauty whenever it can be perceived.

In his poems, flowers talk to, winds sigh by, brooks sing, hills magnify the nature and scope of his poetry, as he continues to take us with his sound, sense, rhythm, guage and measurement. One such poem is ‘Charming Flowers’  wherein he speaks of the beautifulness, dreamy fragrance and the spray of scent so nicely, so sweetly that we forget it to believe that we are reading a poem rather than a flowery plant of some garden or courtyard. The intensity of emotion and feeling, the verve of passion and the beautifulness of expression are some of the poetic features of the poet and he has been carrying them forward so elegantly, so graciously. If one seeks to derive something, one must get a lesson from the wide, varied and multi-hued world of Nature.

Mahendra has just felt about and has given words and touches to the artistic aspect. A reading of his poems shows it clearly that herein the poet is for the art’s sake rather than morality and didacticism. His poem Gouraiya, translated into English would mean Sparrow obviously brings to our memory the depleting house sparrows, but here the context is one of joy, bliss, nestling and chirping. ‘Cloud and Moon’, ‘Moon Light’ and ‘Poonam’ are alike in theme and expression.  

More by : Bijay Kant Dubey
Views: 4316      Comments: 1

Comments on this Poem Article

Comment When one reads poems of Bhatnagar, one enjoys his love for nature and mystical approach to the objects around. Dubey has brought out mystic love of the poet with a melancholic note. That the poetry of Bhatnagar is away from any moralistic tenor adds elegance to his poetry A very good critique no doubt.


p c katoch
10-Apr-2013 00:00 AM


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