A.K. Ramanujan’s poem “A River
The poet levels a scathing criticism against poets, both old and new poets, who eulogize the external beauty of nature while ignoring the deeper significance or the humanitarian aspect of the floods which destroy life and property. The old and new poets find the violent mood of the river more sensational and exciting and fail to write about the malignant aspect of nature .They are insensitive and callous towards human suffering. He criticizes the attitude of those people who favour sensationalism over humanism. The poem also signifies the helpless ness and vulnerability of humans in the face of nature’s fury. The poem has also succeeded in giving life and spirit to the river by vivid and concrete imagery.
The poem is a marvelous evocation of the river, the Vaigai ,which flows through Madurai.The poem revolves around the flooded and turbulent river which naturally draws the poets to write about the beauty of the river and its physically enthralling aspects. The old and new poets are oblivious to the ugly side of the flooded river which brings devastation and havoc causing pain and suffering It shows their ignorance towards the sorrows of reality. They have nothing to write about the dried river in the summer season in contrast to the river in the rainy season which excites them .
A.K. Ramanujan’s poem “A River” is a marvelous piece of sarcastic criticism intended at the poets who only look at the beautiful things of life and mindlessly imitate the same lines quoted by other poets. But these poets ignore the harsh realities, the unpleasant aspects of life. The poem on the one hand is a evocation of the river and on the other a means for exposing the insensitive approach of not only the old poets but also the new poets as well. The poet uses irony to express the callousness of old and new poets who romanticize the floods and ignore the human aspect of loss and suffering caused by the floods.