Vatsala Radhakassoon’s Celebration of Life
Review of Guitar of Love by Vatsala Radhakeesoon
RealVision Inc. Publishing
Music is as universal as Time itself which is its very basis. Rhythm coalescing with lyrical abandon creates soothing harmonies and genuine reflections in the greatest music. In Guitar of Love, Vatsala Radhakeesoon explores her favorite singers and the buoyant effect of their music. However the poems encompass deeper themes of eternal love, illusion, beauty, romance, and philosophy within the central concept of the splendor of song.
In “Sing, Sing Dear Singer” Radhakeesoon explores nostalgia for youth brought by her favorite singer. She writes, “for you, I’ve become / the teenager again…” as if addressing the musician personally. Her reflections often float into 2ndperson, creating an effect of experiencing her emotions as an observer rather than listening to a confession. For instance, the poem “Bach’s Music” tells of a woman’s broken heart. The woman is presumably the poet herself.
In the tone and imagery of St. John of the Cross, Radhakeesoon pursues spiritual themes comparing God’s love to light, “reality as it is”, the “twin flame”. God’s love is the guitar itself playing throughout Nature. What the poem “The Giant Seashell’s Song” calls “the lyre / of the Oracle” is the music of Time played by God’s hand as He strums the guitar of love. Hints of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus bleed through the work at times. Such is the case with the poem “The Lord and I”:
“Thus keeps turning
the wheel of my life
without any fright
throughout all days
I relish the golden lyrics
that the Lord writes
with sun rays ink”
The Romantic mysticism present in this poem appears in other verses such as “The Wake Up Song” which contains hints of Shelley’s “The Masque of Anarchy”:
“Recognize your true self
Let go of slumber”
Here, liberation is the formal recognition of Selfhood rather than political liberation from tyranny. In this respect, Radhakeesoon owes her thinking to the Vedas.
In “The Woman and the Philosopher”, classical themes are employed to illuminate romantic love: “now you’re burning / in mad passion’s flame / like enraged Dido…” The portrayal of Dido as enraged shows a superior understanding of her role in Aeneas’ destiny. Dido refuses to speak to Aeneas in the underworld.
However, Radhakeesoon advises the reader to “Be the stable charioteer / of your mind” revealing her relationship to the spiritual works that advise patience and charity. Her mystical depth is serenely personal. God is her foundation and his music enraptures her with pleasure. God is like Orpheus or King David with the lyre, a symbol of harmony within Nature and balance of the soul. It is no coincidence that love poems are included. Love can be between a mother and child, two lovers, God and His disciple, and the hearer and music. As the poet writes:
as they are…”
Music is characterized and personified as having eyes to observe. Music becomes a beam of light that sees all workings on Earth as a divine Sun. Music is akin to the Holy Spirit—it is wisdom of the Earth and God’s communication.
The poet makes no secret of her love for music. She even attributes her role as Poet to music. She glorifies Poets as warriors of the age, fighters for compassion.
Vatsala Radhakeesoon is a profoundly mystical poet in the tradition of St. John of the Cross. Her poems read like hymnal exclamations of sacred love. In her seeking, she employs classical imagery and Vedic themes. Being no stranger to holy texts, Radhakeesoon writes as a spiritually illumined mystic. The unique culture of Mauritius informs her serene tribute. Guitar of Love is not only a homage to music. It is also a celebration of life.
To purchase Vatsala's book, please go to this link:https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Love-Vatsala-Radhakeesoon/dp/1792065280
Her wonderful book is available in print and on Kindle.
Now to add the music that I had wanted to include on Sunday!
I'll start with "Avant de partir" by Roch Voisine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw1QYtDxUU4
As one of the trio Forever Gentlemen, he has covered "Fly Me to the Moon": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxHJHjVVTRI
Here is some jazz from Mauritius, Vatsala's home. LIB is playing "Night Note": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_k3xJ74pZ4
Linley Marthe, the bassist of Island Jazz, is from Mauritius: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbrmxOEsV_E
Marthe is featured here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGD7zUpSU4