Ami C. Jani
Roll no. – 41
SEM – I
Paper no. – 2
Year – 2010-11
Topic: Ezekiel a poet of India
Submitted to Mr. Devershi Mehta
Department of English,
Nissim Ezekiel is a prominent name in 20th century modern Indo-Angilian literature. He has expressed the spirit of modern times in his poetry. He is a well read scholar and scholarship as well as craftsmanship are well reflected in his poems. Ezekiel uses all the ultramodern techniques of poetry writing and hereby exhibits his high gesthetic sense in his poems. His poems are the superb combination of the imagination and the reality.
Nissim Ezekiel is undoubtaly one of the one of the leading poet of Indian English literature. As readers we get the sense of Indianness in all most all his poems. Ezekiel is the poet that gives voice to the lifestyle of a common man who belongs to modern Indian society. The poet not only selects topics for his poems from the life of a middleclass man but also treats this topic simplicity of diction while writing poems. However it doesn’t mean that Ezekiel’s poems are simple to comprehend. On the contorary the poem of Ezekiel with the simple topics and simple treatment becomes difficult to understand because the poet conveys his message poetica of artistically. The poet uses various poetry devices to make his poems effective. It is true that Ezekiel is not addicted to use any particular poetic device recurrently in his poems. Hence we can not identify common devices used in all his poems but Ezekiel’s poetry is a noticeable one. All most all the poem of Ezekiel include statement type of. This structure endows prosaic quality to Ezekiel’s poems. The use of tonal language at once appeals our heart.
Nissim Ezekiel is a complex poet in spite of having the quality of simplicity at the outset of the text of his poems. He goes on experimentation using various poetic devices while writing poems and so we hardly come across common poetic devices in Ezekiel’s poetry.
The poem’s Background Casusaly begins with a coined compound word ‘Poet – rascal – clown’. Similarly the poem Goodbye Party - For Miss Pushpa T.S. begins with direct address through the word Friends and hereby the device of apostrophe is used. The poem The Patriot begins with the statement type of sentence worded as “I am standing for peace and non-violence ”. This sentence has the S.V.A. structure. Ezekiel selects the poetry device that suits best to express his ideas, feelings view for belief effectively.
His famous “Poet , Lover, Birdwatcher” offers a complex texture and this texture is interwoven with subtlety and depth. The poet has introduce visual images referring to the activities of all the three that Poet, Lover and Birdwatcher, this images overlap and intermingle with each other. This is the complex poem and it has the unique organic whole, the texture of the poem is a noticeable one and the sentence patterns of the text are also note worthy. Some sentences are very long divided by comma, semicolon, dash etc. The poet has interwoven the life three and the poet has used many infinitives in the poem to say, to watch, to go etc. These infinitives form out a logical category at grammar level. The poet has used the phrase “The hearts dark flour” and there by the metaphor is used. Moreover it is compared with a remote share. The poet has used main adjective words in the text. They are “Best” , “patient”, “timid”, “slow” , “rare”, “remote”, “thrones”, “dark” etc. These words form out a lexical category at grammar level. The phrase “Myths of Light” is the example of metaphor. The entire poem tells about Nissim Ezekiel’s skills as a poet and he conveys his vision of beauty. In his poem he the images overlap each other and with the overlapping the poet gains depth in the poem. Design of the poem is a complex one. Realistic aspect and approach are shown by Ezekiel in his poem. Here we can see large use of images.
The language of “Good bye party for Miss Pushpa T.S.” is a noticeable one the poet has use the conversational language because he drags us the party where people are supposed to involve in a causal talk. The use of conversational language helps to create the atmosphere of the party. Moreover the poet has use present continues tense while writing this poem and the use of the present continuous tense gives the impression that the party is in progress. Beside the poet has used the tonal language in this poem and the tonal language always carries the double meaning. The poet says one thing about Miss Pushpa but he means a opposite of what he says. At surface level he seems to praises Miss Pushpa but at the deep structure he satirizes the life style of the protagonist. The mocking tone lurks continually from the under currence of the text from the poem. Suggestively or indirect way of conveying the massage is the hallmark quality of Nissim Ezekiel and this quality is perhaps well express in “Good bye party for Miss Pushpa T.S.”.
Ezekiel’s poem “Edinburgh – Interlude – Lightly” deals with the conversation between the newly wed daughter-in-law with her inlows and the poet has projected the dialogues in the form of the direct speech. The dialogue gives the dramatic effect to the poem. The poet includes the element of the dark humor. The poet wants to say out the status of the married woman in the Indian family. Lines of the poem are irregular and we come across several voices of narration. The diction of the poem is simple one. The entire poem confirms that the poet thinks and comments upon the problems of the society in which he is born and brought up.
The last three sections of the poem begins with the word “said” and this reference is the example of the word deviation and also the structural parallelism. The word “kitchen” is the example of the device of the repetition. The word “girl” is used for the bride and it refers to the device of the substitute. Ezekiel as projected the dialogues that give dramatic effect through the poem.
Ezekiel is well verse in dealing with the domestic theme whole writing poems.
His poem “Railway Clerk” begins progresses in a straight forward manners. The diction is also a simple on but the poem gives the vivid picture of the struggle of the middle class men for survives. Ezekiel’s poem “Railway clerk” we can find that the poem is divided into several section and the poet has used the simple present tense while writing the poem. Many lines of the poem begins with the words “I am”. These lines are in continuous present tense and they are the example of structural repetition. The word “Money” has been used four times and it is the example of the device of repetition. More over the same reference also refers to the celliteration. The lines of the text are irregular and the diction of the poem is simple. The poet has used two rhetorical questions that enhance the total effect of the poem.
Ezekiel always speak for a day man and very often he uses the pronoun first person singular “I” in his poems. It means the narrator and the protagonist of his poem tends to be one and the same and this device makes his poem very effective.
His poem “The Night of the Scorpion” begins with a sentence “I remember the night my mother stuny by a Scorpio” and in “The Patriot” also poem begins with the sentence “I am standing for peace and non-violence !”.
It would be interesting to note Ezekiel’s selection of topics for his poem and the forms as well. The poet is never repetitive and the majority of the topics deals with the domestic problems of the contemporary Indian society especially the family unit. Again the poems like “Night of the Scorpion”, “Railway Clerk”, “Edinburgh – Interlude - Lightly”, “Good bye Party of Miss Pushpa T.S.”, exemplify the above observation. More over the poet uses different type of language in different poems. In other words the diction of Ezekiel’s poetry various from a simple one to the most complex one.
The wording of the “Railway Clerk” and “Edinburgh - – Interlude - Lightly” goes with the day-to-day conversation language where as the diction of “Poet , Lover, Birdwatcher’ is the complex one than his poem “The Visitor” or “Enterprise” also complex to understand.
Ezekiel is a experimental poet and so he continues projecting different poetic techniques in his poems. The poem like “Poet , Lover, Birdwatcher”The Visitor” introduce visual images and this images endow the poem, the quality of picturesauness. On the other hand the language of “Railway clerk” is simple and straight forward and it directly communicates the helpesn of the common man in modern Indian society. It is true that the language used in “Edinburgh – Interlude - Lightly” as well as “Good bye Party of Miss Pushpa T.S.” is an tonal language and it carries ironical tone through the text. The poet has introduce in the both the poem under tones. The language of “Good bye Party of Miss Pushpa T.S.” reminds us the famous speech of Mark Anthony after killed Seasor. Ezekiel also uses the device of concealment and through this device he conveys his message indirectly with suggestively. Through the poem “The Night of the Scorpion” poet backed by the philosophical approach. The poet has fully exploited the device of the concealment in the poem. and “
Ezekiel very often avoids to use familiar and traditional poetic devices like wraitation , regular rhyming scheme etc. The poet also does not always write his poem in meatere, mystery of Ezekiel ‘s poems are metereless poems or prose poems. Ezekiel could be ranked in between the generation of the past poets in the ultramodern poets because he takes something that suits to his spirit from both the generations. Sometimes Ezekiel uses rhyming scheme in his poem and sometimes uses ultramodern poetic devices including sound effects with the help of the poetic devices like onomatopoeia. Ezekiel’s poetry is the combination of both musicality and as well as pictureasauness. Even his pros poems have specific inherent rhythm. The poem “The Night of the Scorpion” gives a vivid visual image in which the poet graphically describe the scorpion in all stuny the poet’s mother. Many lines of the same poem begin with the helping verb “May” and this lines refers to the structural repetition. In the same poem the poet compare the peasants with of swains of files and thereby the devices of similyis used. In his poem ”The Visitor” he compared an neck craned like a nagging woman and he here also used the devices of simily.
In Ezekiel poetry we can across various voices of narration.
Those poems in which the poet has used the pronoun first person singular “I” deal with the narrator poet. In other words the poet himself is the narrator as well as the character of such poems. The poet directly talks to the reader of his poem and hereby uses the direct method while writing the poems. In some other poems we come across more than voice of narration.
In the poem “The Night of the Scorpion”, a part from the voice of the poet himself, there is also the voice of neighbors peasant, similarly in the poem “Edinburgh – Interlude - Lightly” we come across several voices of narration like the voice of the daughter-in-law, the father-in-law, the son of the family etc. These voices are introduced through the projection of the dialogues. In the dialogues he gives dramatic effect to the poem by using these type of different devices in his work.
In many poems Ezekiel directly addressed either the character of the poem or the reader of the poem and thereby the device of apostrophe is used.
Another striking feature of Ezekiel’s mature style is the use of Hindi Words in his poems. These words creates an illusion of the real life as lived in our country besides showing the poet’s awareness of the native language. There are seven instances of this type in different poems. He uses the word “Guru” as the title of the one of his poem where the other word “Ashram” also occurs. In “How the English Lessons Ended”, the Muslim girl wears “Burkha” while going to school. In “Rural suite” there is a mention of “Bhikshuks” and in “Ganga”, the common nouns “Chapati” and “Pan” occurs. He is capable of turning words into a metaphor, image or symbols as the situation demands.
For example his poem “The Visitor”.
He conceives of the human beings, both male and female in various ways. For example,
As a railway clerk, as suffering men, as native Miss Pushpa in “Good bye Party of Miss Pushpa T.S.”, as monkey charmer in “Entertainment”, as a corrupt saint in “Guru”, as a Jew boy in “Background casuagy” , as a poet in “The visitor”. Those men and women belong to the general humanism with all their vices and virtues. The image of woman and common persons and the basement room have a basic unity about them. The poet appears to be concerned with the discovery of the spirit, or we can say, with the image of man in the broadest sense of the term.
Ezekiel’s poetry is full of ambivalent qualities and at the same time it is also marked with the qualities of freshness. Though the poet selects the familiar topics from the Indian context, the treatment of the selected topics is callgainer a novel one. The poet is quite aware of the modern India as well as the trends and techniques prevalent in modern poetry. Ezekiel is not conditioned in any particular term or ideology perhaps because he holds receptivity of mind and mindness is reflected in his poems because he always welcomes what is new and what is worthy to be accepted. Ezekiel has opened up avenues the development of modern indo-anglian poetry. He has definitely inspired the new young poets through his poems.