Essay on Background Casually by Nissim Ezekiel

3367 Words Nov 13th, 2012 14 Pages
1.5 POET, LOVER, BIRD WATCHER
The best poem of this volume 'Poet, Lover, Bird-watcher' displays
Ezekiel's views on poet's problems. He thinks the best poets wait for words, like ornithologists sitting in silence to see birds.
Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher is one of the better known poems of Ezekiel and has received considerable critical attention. It epitomizes the poet's search for a poetics which would help him redeem himself in his eyes and in the eyes of the god. Parallelism is drawn between the poet, the lover and the Birdwatcher.
All the three have to wait patiently in their respective pursuits, indeed their 'waiting' is a sort of strategy, a plan of action which bear fruit it persisted in and followed with patience. It is patient waiting
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A Muslim sportsman boxed my ears. 10

I grew in terror of the strong

But undernourished Hindu lads,

Their prepositions always wrong,

Repelled me by passivity.

One noisy day I used a knife. 15

At home on Friday nights the prayers

Were said. My morals had declined,

I heard of Yoga and of Zen.

Could I, perhaps, be rabbi-saint?

The more I searched, the less I found 20

Twenty-two: time to go abroad.

First, the decision, then a friend

To pay the fare. Philosophy,

Poverty and Poetry, three

Companions shared my basement room. 25

2

The London seasons passed me by.

I lay in bed two years alone,

And then a Woman came to tell

My willing ears I was the Son

Of Man. I knew that I had failed 30

44 Gathered Grace

In everything, a bitter thought.

So, in an English cargo-ship

Taking French guns and mortar shells

To Indo-China, scrubbed the decks,

And learned to laugh again at home. 35

How to feel it home, was the point

Some reading had been done, but what

Had I observed, except my own

Exasperation? All Hindus are

Like that, my father used to say, 40

When someone talked too loudly, or

Knocked at the door like the Devil.

They hawked and spat. They sprawled around.

I prepared for the worst. Married,

Changed jobs, and saw myself a fool. 45

The song of my experience sung,

I knew that all was yet to sing.

My ancestors, among the castes,

Were aliens crushing seed for bread

(The hooded

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