Poetry is rightly defined as the true expression of the most profound emotions, which human beings generally struggle to express. This expression is what gives a literary work an exceptional grace and poise, which is unmatched by even the giants of prose. “A Beautiful Heart” by Arun Warikoo is one such collection of poems where the poet has shared different phases and emotions coupled with honesty and relatable subjects. As Keats has said that poetry should come as naturally as leaves to a tree, Warikoo’s work has that expression in abundance.
Warikoo may have debuted with this collection to kickstart his career in literary writing, but the flow and fluidity of his poems take the readers elsewhere. They do not feel the work being of a debutant. The fact that he writes at a mature age effortlessly finds reflection in his “A Beautiful Heart.” He divides the poems into 4 sections, which may suggest the different facets of his artistic personality and the thoughts which may have occupied his mind over the years, finally finding a canvas for expression. These sections would also be suggestive of the changes the poet has gone through over the years as he assumed different roles from a son and brother to a husband and father.
The poems in the section of “Family Bonds” would be perhaps the most relatable for readers. The manner in which Warikoo explores the different bonds that people have right from their childhood would perhaps take many back to their early days as a child. In poems dedicated to his mother, father, and sibling, there is an air of nostalgia pervading the pages, and the poems that follow depict the later stages and the roles that the poet played as his life unfolded. This may remind the readers of Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages” for once. At the same time, there is no uniformity of stanzas of the poems. He does not follow any particular set length anywhere. This indicates the manner in which an artistic mind works, where the expression does not see any poetic conventions and finds its way through on the paper. Some poems are as short as 4 lines, while some extend to a more extended version. Through this style in “A Beautiful Heart,” the author creates a unique place for himself in the literary world.
In the other sections called “Spirituality,” “Nature,” and “Inner Strength,” sure a more mature side of the poet who has a better understanding of things, and his perspective is different comparatively. As the titles signify, the poems in this section revolve around subjects beyond the materialistic world and bonds beyond family that a person develops with himself and his surroundings. In “Spirituality,” he talks about the different learning in his life which have shaped his personality and thought process into what it is in the present. “The Patron Saint of Kashmir,” “Who is He,” and “Strings” are some examples that can be mentioned here. In “Nature,” the poet takes the readers to his homeland of Kashmir and makes them see the beauty of the land through his eyes in poems like “The Tulip Garden of Kashmir,” “The Dal Lake,” etc. He also talks of other forms of nature’s beauty in his poems on flowers and others. In “Inner Strength,” Warokoo tries to instigate the readers to explore and find their inner strength by drawing examples from practical expriences and also from nature in poems like “The Eagle,” “The Lion,” “The Horse,” and “The Tree.” The readers would experience the beauty that surrounds them and, at the same time, would appreciate the messages that nature has been trying to give them all along through its creations.
Overall, it can be said that the poems give an all-round experience to readers and make poetry reading a time of both enjoyment and learning. They catch the rhythm that Warikoo builds and also learn and ponder over the thoughts that the poet shares. Poetry lovers are bound to develop a fondness for “A Beautiful Heart” instantly and would keep it on their bedside for reading again and again. The poems can be enjoyed by both young and grown-up readers. However, the poems of the later sections would appeal more to the mature readers who have more experience of life in comparison to their younger counterparts.
Title: A Beautiful Heart
Author: Arun Warikoo
Reviewed By: Akhila at The Literature Today
Publisher: Bluerose Publishers; First Edition (16 December 2020)
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