Saturday, July 23, 2005

Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher

To force the pace and never to be still
Is not the way of those who study birds
Or women. The best poets wait for words.
The hunt is not an exercise of will
But patient love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing;
Until the one who knows that she is loved
No longer waits but risks surrendering -
In this the poet finds his moral proved
Who never spoke before his spirit moved.

The slow movement seems, somehow, to say much more.
To watch the rarer birds, you have to go
Along deserted lanes and where the rivers flow
In silence near the source, or by a shore
Remote and thorny like the heart's dark floor.
And there the women slowly turn around,
Not only flesh and bone but myths of light
With darkness at the core, and sense is found
But poets lost in crooked, restless flight,
The deaf can hear, the blind recover sight.

-- Nissim Ezekiel

I have never really liked Ezekiel. I still remember, way back when I was 12 or so, I was made to read his "Night of the scorpion" (or something like that) and I hated him for that. I hated him for threatening poetry under the guise of modern tolerance and modernistic style of poetry. I remember going back home and creating a lot of noise about this. I was still in the grip of Daffodils and Ozymandias and such a piece was blasphemy to me. It was like having a girl dress in overalls or something like that. No, no, don't get started with "But she can look beautiful in them too." Please. She might, but the beauty of delicate efforts of weaving the softest and finest of threads and curls is lost. Forget it; I am lamenting for a pointless cause....

This poem is an exception and I wanted to share it with you. Its a lot of what I go through as writer and lover (been a long while since I did any serious bird watching!!).


  1. hey... nice! i hadnt read any particularly good ezekiel either till this one :)

  2. Really good poem...I should update my English book collection! Too bad I'm on restriction there for sometime till I complete my Tamill collection!! :(

  3. "patient love" - thats a nice term!

    I remember "night of the scorpion" and "for kalpana" from my high school texts too. :-)

  4. Dear m.
    Hey! ... thanks. Been a while since you came here too... ;-)

    Dear A,
    You continue with the Tamil collection and leave others to do the English bit and share such morsels with you. And you share the thayir saadam morsels with us ;-)

    Dear J,
    Hmmm. That it is. I liked the phrase "myths of light"

  5. Love ur peacock eye image.

    very cute.

  6. oy! ive been coming but quietly watching :))

  7. @Eroteme - Great idea!!! And I can possibly use the English morsel that you give as mAvadu for my thayir sAtham!!! ;)

  8. I will agree on the night of the scorpion bit...tho not to the "girl-in-overalls" bit..:)
    but yes lovely poem

  9. Dear KKC,
    Thank you!

    Dear m.
    Don't we all say that? ;-)

    Dear A,
    Sure will!

    Dear misha,
    I was wondering why no woman had objected to that bit!!! :-) I suppose everyone was being nice. I actually do love girls in overalls, but... aaaargh! forget it. An overall always represented a quick fix or a I-really-don't-care-what-she-wears thing! Again, forget it!! :-| I was actually crazy enough to search for a few pictures after I had posted. Then I decided to wait till someone says anything!! Check these out:

    Aren't they neat/ ;-)