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A Fistful Of Stars: Hariharan's Poetry

Selvi, who lives in Los Alamos, New Mexico, brings appreciative comments on the poems of Hariharan Balakrishnan whose work is now appearing in Open Writing.

Selvi and Hariharan re-established contact after an interval of 55 years and now regularly correspond.

Selvi has given permission for this e-mail to Hartiharan to appear in Open Writing.

Selvi writes:

Dear Bala
I liked all the poems I read this morning. What I like the most is it is easy reading and it is about the things one can understand and appreciate.

I took notes as I was reading so I can mention it to you.
1 Home is very nice but I wish you had few more stanzas. I felt it was too short. I was trying to connect the poem and the picture and could not connect it.

2. A Place For The Stars is one of my favorites and it is very fitting to give the title to the book. Stars are fascinating and one never gets tired of watching it. I remember Mrs. Dass teacher in our tenth class asked whether we take time to see the stars in the night. Here in Los Alamos we have very clear skies and I do look at the stars. Would like to learn about the constellations. India Devi knew many of them.

3. Mango Blossoms. We had a mango tree at Berhampur home so I could feel what your poem conveyed. You did plant the seed and that makes a big difference when we see how the tree grows and get attached to it. The tree we had it grew somehow. We did not plant the seed. I used to climb the wall near by and pluck the bunches of leaves, make Thoranam, to decorate the house ( the entry door and other doors, Pujai mandapam etc) during the festivals. I used to like the smell of the mango leaves also.

4. Blue Diamond is going to be all time favorite.

5. Rainbow Moments is really a very sweet poem. Blowing soap bubbles and seeing rainbow colors is one of the past times I had while growing up. I want to do that with Aditya.

While reading the poem I visualized you blowing the soap bubbles when Sumi and Uma were young. The sound the bubble makes when it blows up is very delicate not loud. So this poem gave how adults and children can have fun with simple soap water and have Rainbow Moments.

6.. Feet On the Street. What a marvellous way to describe how our feet can do things. I was reminded of Annamacharya's song Brahma Kadigina Padamu that talks about the feet used by the Lord in different ways. Like Vaman Avataram, Rama and Ahalya story, Kalinga Mardhanam, Krishna ,also Laksmi massaging Vishnu's feet all are described. But people has to know the stories behind these instances. Your poem can be understood easily without knowing the background stories. Another Kirtanas 'Rakasha Pettare' by Thyagaraja talks about the Hands , the instances described and so needs to be protected by Raksha. I heard DK Jayaraman singing this song and loved it.

The special paper, the pictures and the print all look very pleasing to the eye and mind. But the words you use are terrific. To me reading your poems is relaxing.
Best Wishes.


To read some of Harihan's poems please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_fistful_of_stars/


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