R. K. Bhushan is a poet of vibrating sounds, colours, aroma and sundry images ranging from leaves, stones, flowers, sky, waters, winds, storms, rivers, lilacs, birds, to hope, dreams, shadows, loneliness, betrayal, Adam-Eve, laughter, songs, love, beauty, romance, heavens, aspirations, absolutions, questions, answers, assertions, suppositions, suggestions, and even words, thoughts, vision and ever more. His poetry springs from the unknown and strikes at the unknown within us. In fact, he is a master craftsman with whom words, thoughts, rhythm and vision walk together and carry his readers to the ghats of everlasting ecstasy and epiphany. Born at Kartarpur in Jalandhar district, Bhushan taught language and literature for about thirty seven years and retired later on as the Head, Post Graduate Dept of English from L.R.D.A.V. College. He is widely published, admired and awarded poet who was decorated with the International Poet of Merit Award, in 2001 by the Poets International Society of Washington DC., U.S.A. His previous collection Sentinels of the Soul was highly acclaimed by critics in India and abroad.

The present collection is divided into three sections of ‘Adam in Riot Moods,’ ‘Beastly and The Beast’ and ‘Romance of Reflections’ carrying nineteen poems in the first section, sixteen poems in the second and ten poems in the last section. The poems of the collection have a variety of themes like love, death, life, soul, silence, anxiety, pride, gods, divinity, mind, time and illusions that cover a broad spectrum and stir a ripple in heart and soul of the readers. In most of his poems, Bhushan has attempted to assume the role of a keen observant but amazingly, he appears to be actively indulgent at the same time. The poet is a meditative and self-observing scholar who has spent a plenty of time in introspection and extrospection. Therefore, his self-confessional remark captures our attention when he says: “If I have had any complaints in life, they have been mostly against myself”. (Preface)

As a serious thinker, he questions himself: “Despite my notorious sprightliness and vivacious temperament, I have often wondered: “What has life and its love given to me?” (Preface) and again when he fails to materialize his dreams and ideals and has to crash-land on the path way of harsh realities, he questions again: “Was my measure too big?’ But these petty grudges stand nowhere when we read him saying: “Yet the veritable optimist that I am, I have treated these as transitory, momentary and varying features of the earthy phenomena that undoubtedly dim and eclipse the dazzle of the sun. But the sun continues to shine with the stand of perfect neutrality reaffirming in three simple words: Life goes on”. (Preface) In fact, this self -motivating and optimistic approach of Bhushan is the stepping stone to understand his poetry as well as the whys and wherefores of his poetry.

In the present collection, we can find several instances wherein the poet has tried to express big ideas in small words:

Whatever is done, delights me not;

Whatever is undone, worries me a lot (5)

* * *

Life of spirituality yields the hope;

Life of materiality fails to cope (14)

Laughter is the love of life;

Life is the song of laughter (20)

* * *

Why the sight troubles your soul;

Perform your own functional role (72)

The poems like ‘Lyric of Human Soul,’ ‘Dare Deny the Devil?,’ ‘Missing Links in the Process -1,’ ‘Missing Links in the Process -2 ,’ ‘The Holy and The Human’ and ‘Unforgettables,’ ‘Theatre of the Absurd,’ are humanistic and socially conscious; ‘Zeal of the Zest,’ ‘Number of Silence,’ ‘Autopsy,’ ‘Life’s Pearl,’ ‘Give Me Laugh on Lease for Life,’ ‘Death Prized,’ ‘Life Ever Remained A Search for Urvashi,’ ‘Sacred to the Gods’ and ‘Divinity’ are optimistic and philosophical and ‘Finished Art of Unfinished Love,’ ‘Lover’s Anxiety,’ ‘Rolling in Romance,’ ‘Marvel of the Moment,’ ‘Lover’s World,’ and ‘Do I Miss You?,’ are chief romantic love poems packed with personal and literary and mythological allusions. It is a sheer delight to roll with him in his romance. Besides, a few poems like ‘A Vesper,’ ‘Rolling in Romance,’ ‘Life’s Pearl’ and ‘Rustling Leaves” have charming delineation of nature in which the poet with his tools of words, symbols and imagery has left a lasting impression on the reader’s mind.

The language of the poet is evocative, decorative and passionate. The good command over English language and literature can be seen in the poems like ‘Fragrance from Afar,’ ‘Genius Infinite -1,’ ‘Genius Infinite-2,’ ‘Fall on the Mall’ and ‘Eve and Adam.’ The narrative quality of the poet is much similar to Ted Hughes which though being long is never monotonous or devoid of meaning. The poems like ‘The Glory of the Pride,’ ‘Dare Deny the Devil?’ ‘Missing Links in the Process-1,’ ‘Missing Links in the Process’-2’ and ‘Genius Infinite’ are the fine examples of the same. The poet is at home in his choice of words, phrases and idioms so his poetry is crystal clear and not complex. The reader is frequently struck also by his poetic potentiality to consciously add different shades of meanings to the words and phrases he uses.

In nut shell, the book Rustling Leaves with an attractive jacket has turned out to be an alluring offering of R. K. Bhushan at the altar of the Muses. The poems of the collection are of serious nature that lead to an illumined awareness of human situation and enhance to the level of spirituality so that man’s life may experience and reach the ultimate goal. This book shows the maturity of the growth of the poet’s mind at the level of thought, content and style. I hope and trust ardently that the book will make an interesting reading and attain its desirable goal of Charaveti Charaveti (pjSosfr pjSosfr)