Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar’s “Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart” : A Healing Balm to a Bruised Heart / Review by Paayol Lalwani

Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart: A Healing Balm to a Bruised Heart

Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar’s “Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart” is one of the memorable and wonderful love centric anthologies of contemporary times. Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar is a well-known trilingual poet (Maithili, Hindi and English), short story writer, critic and reviewer. Regularly published in various national and international magazines, both printed and online he has to his credit  two collections of poems in English: Soothing Serenades: Straight From  the Heart (2018) and Two Indias and Other Poems (2019). One of his poems on Nelson Mandela is included in the academic syllabus prescribed for the school students of Philippines.

As for Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart , I find this entire experience of reviewing this literary work very overwhelming. At the same time extremely honored as it opened a vista for me to this beautiful and novel Bhaskarland. I read the foreword and the first one by Sir Amarnath  Jha  really got me hooked and as I started reading the poems I could relate word by word with his review. The poems by Bhaskar sir are verbal treats. He is a man of word so to speak.

What I especially like about the collection of poems is it considers the readers and it is a step by step guide to unravel the greatest myth and mystery that is love. The first poem is invocation of goddess of love moving on to love presented as an emotion as perceived by the commoners and then a critical interpretation of love which shows a perfect balance of twisted beliefs about love effortlessly brought into focus by soft reminder of its ethos. He invokes:

“O Opulent Love!

Muse of hearts

As divine as Christ

Come and heal the global wound

Of violence, lusts and all ailments of hearts

With comforting and curing touch of divinity

And replete the world with your resplendent grandeur!”

  (To Goddess Of Love!)

How remarkable is the transition from an intellectual discourse on love to making it a mouthpiece of a loon of a lover swooning to charms of love becoming a prison to his dreams yet thriving in the mirage of a Vernal Breeze :

“Like a vernal wind

You gently caress me

From afar

My verse begins to sing

And my heart

Soars up high and higher

On the wings of joy

For I feel you 

All around me

With a bounty of love

Coming all the way

With the fresh gentle breeze..! (Vernal Breeze)”

Heart wrenching is personification of the elusive love which still spreads its Waft of Fragrance for all and sundry. As a reader I feel elevated upon reading the pining of a mortal for showers of love flowing smoothly from the pen of the creator as flawless as a piece of music.

“The invisible footprints 

Of silent love

Visibly etched out in heart

Are quite indelible

For the time 

To obliterate them

As the beautiful humming vibes 

Oscillate romantically

Between the obstinate thoughts

And undying feeling 

For my ‘her’

With unflinching faith

In eternity of LOVE I have.” (Waft of Fragrance)

Priceless in this collection of staggering 62 poesy is a sub group of poems where heart muses and throbs in love with the idea of love. What I find most intriguing in this collection is the poet’s mastery over words. Not a single case of exaggeration but a perfect amalgamation of emotions and expressions. What is amazing is myriad reflections as if from a broken glass of different thoughts on the chosen theme .It has freshness of youthful passion and at the same time worldly wisdom. Definitely these are poems for the common man leaving an aftertaste of something intangible brought alive to your senses by skillful imagery.

Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar

In the Foreword, Dr Amarnath Jha rightly encapsulates:

“The poems are rich in the use of figurative language. The figures, such as simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration, paradox, apostrophe, metonymy, allusion etc. have been frequently used. The linguistic devices of polysemy (e.g. ‘The flood of tears tears the heart’ in “Sometimes I Feel” (No.43)) and functional shifts have also been applied very significantly. One poem is entitled “Semantic Fiasco” (No. 41). The cohesive devices used in the individual poems make them stitched together in the overall framework of the volume for the sake of coherence.”

To sum up. Soothing Serenades: Straight from the Heart is a healing balm to a bruised heart. The book is available in I wish this book should be in your must-grab-now list. Just go and grab it at the earliest.

– Paayol Lalwani

Paayol Lalwani is a teacher, poet and reviewer, noted for her passion for poetry .

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