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 which crown the efforts of all the three with success.
Ezekiel attempts to define the poet in terms of a lover and the birdwatcher. There is a close resemblance among them in their search for love, bird and word. All the three become one in spirit, and Ezekiel expresses this in imagery noted for its precision and decorum:
The hunts is not an exercise of will
But patience love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing..
There is no action, no exercise of will in all the three cases, but 'Patient waiting' is itself strategy., a kind of planned action to reach the goal. The patience of the birdwatcher is rewarded when the timid bird is suddenly caught in the net; the patience of the lover is rewarded, when the woman loved, risks surrendering. Similarly, if the poets wait still the moment of inspiration, he achieves some noble utterance. "Bird - beloved - poem syndrome runs throughout the lyric".
The Second-stanza stresses the fact that slow movement is good. One has to go to remote place just as one has to discover love in a remote place like the heart's dark floor. It is there, that women look something more than their body, and that they appear like myths of light. And the poet, in zigzag movements, yet with a sense of musical delight, manages to combine movements, yet with a sense of musical delight, manages to combine sense and sound in such a way that 'deaf can hear, the blind recover sight'. Highest poetry is remedial in its action, it cures human apathy and deadness of spirit, activises human sense, and makes man see and hear much more than he would have otherwise done.
At the end of this wait, the poetic word appears in the concrete and sensuous form of a woman, who knows that she is loved and who surrenders to her lover at once. In this process, poetry and love, word and woman become This watermark does not appear in the registered version - http://www.clicktoconvert.com 8
interwined. But this "slow movement" of love and poetry, which shows no irritable haste to arrive at meaning, does not come by easily. In order to possess the vision of the rarer birds of his psyche, the poet has to go through the "deserted lanes" of his solitary, private life; he has to walk along the primal rivers of his consciousness in silence, or travel to a far off shore which is like the heart's dark floor. The poet, then, gloats on the slow curving movements of the women, both for the sake of their sensuousness and the insights they bring. He creates his poetry out of these "myths of light" who essential darkness or mystery remains at the entire of creation itself. But the poet finds the greatest sense or meaning in his own creativity which eventually liberates him from "crooked restless flight" of those moments when struggles to find the poetic idiom. The poetry which releases the poet from suffering is the medium through which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
This is a justly celebrated poem, containing a beautiful worked set of images moving as the title suggests, on three interpenetrating levels.
Nissim Ezekiel 43
A poet-rascal-clown was born,
The frightened child who would not eat
Or sleep, a boy of meagre bone.
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