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A Fistful Of Stars: The Silent One

Hariharan Balakrishnan's poem emphasises the shalowness of "society''.

Liveried flunkeys
Bow-tied shepherds
Clinking glasses
Swinging hips

Tightened belts
On paunchy torsos
Heightened busts
With clenching fists

Raucous laughter
High-pitched voices
Hysteric hype
From falsie lashes

Dimming lights
And dimmer visions
Unseeing eyes
Sightless glances

The night is naught
For the dayless dumb
Who waste their souls
In soulless bashes

Empty sounds
And emptier gestures
Pine for a word
From the Silent One


If you wish to purchase a copy of Hariharan's wonderful book of poems please contact him by clicking on fabalas02@gmail.com
All profits from the book will be donated to the cause of educating and improving the welfare of children.

Here is the foreword to the book:

Images of Tenderness

It has been rightly said that if poetry does not come as naturally as leaves on a tree, it need not come at all. Even to an ordinary reader of the poems in this anthology it will be more than apparent that here are poems which have come naturally and effortlessly, without any desire for sophistication or dressing up. There is a degree of simplicity and intense emotion which define them. This is why they build an immediate bridge to the reader’s imagination.

They have an enviable pictorial quality. However, the picturisation and image structure have an admirable economy and precision that enables them to retain suggestivity and all the nuances of feeling even as they build a metaphoric world. Most of the poems reveal to the reader the true face of living a life in today’s complex world and yet retain the authenticity of feeling combined with an intensity of emotion. Take a poem like A place for the Stars. When he says:

A fistful of stars I held one night
I know not if they are there today
Fingers mine I dare not clench
Stars are tender and fragile,

the reader is touched by an emotion which is equally tender and fragile. He is also struck with the brilliance of the imagery of holding a fistful of stars and then wondering whether they are still there today. The poem Rain-peacock not only makes rain swing, dance and sing, but also reminds one of the myriad ways one has experienced it in the wet season of the monsoon when rain is a song and a burst of joy. Balakrishnan is obviously in love with Indian summer rain as another poem of that title makes it amply clear.

The poet’s invocation to Saraswati, the Goddess of poetry and music in his “twilight zone, the penumbra of life” begins with an honest poetic question posed to her ‘why have you come?’ A measure of such self-doubt gives the poem a charming ambivalence. Even if it is twilight zone, Balakrishnan is deeply aware that for him, as perhaps for all creative artists and poets, a continuing dream is to hear the footsteps coming everyday on this mother earth and every day is new. In the poem Fireflies, the glow worms become the stars and make the poet unsure if he himself is to them “a firefly or a mere worm”.

The ultimate bliss for the poet is a waft of the distant flute for his lonely soul when its music is a wail from the wilderness.

This is Balakrishnan’s first anthology and the poems reveal his deep attachment to poetry, the music of words and his capacity to orchestrate delicate emotions through them. I am sure his readers are entitled to expect more from him in the years ahead. More power to his elbow.

Dr. Sitakant Mahapatra


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