Your poem has been mentioned in the New Poems thread in the forum:
It wasn't until the third reading that I connected the title to the rest of the poem and felt my respect for the old man increase. The dramatic contrast between the description of the old man and what the writer leads me to imagine as the flawless fresh-faced appearance of the child is resolved in the wave of the old man. The man is innocent in the sense of what his action suggests—an empathy for the child's reality. From the initial description one would expect either a broken or bitter man, both of which would likely not have led him to acknowledge the child. His wave is an act of tenderness that suggests his years in prison and the frailty of his body have not left him encased in his own misery and loneliness. It is interesting that he has returned from prison to what he was familiar with before prison yet appears to be somewhat lost as he pokes around in the dirt with his stick.
Now, as I write, I realize that in describing one aspect of this poem I've already used far more words than the writer used for the entire poem—one indicator of the nature of poetry is that it conveys meaning through both what the words denote as well as the added meanings of implications, evocations and connotations that arise from the imagery and structure of the poem. This poem took time to reveal itself to me and my initial reaction included the thought that the last three lines of the first stanza were not poetic but simply a prose sentence broken up over three lines. Now, I'm not so sure. In a sense, the rhythm of these lines as well as that of the second stanza appear to enhance the bleakness of the old man's situation. The contrast in tempo of the final stanza—a distinct slowing down— is effective in allowing the pessimism developed earlier to evaporate in the optimism suggested by the human connection at the end.
While this poem made me work, it was worth it in the end in reminding me of my connection with those who appear different on the surface.
Thask you Rosy.
The fraud of the millennium, however, is that 'inhuman caste system' too was a legacy of the Raj, pivotal to their divide-to-rule strategy. Engineered & presided over by that racist eugenicist Herbert Hope Risley over a period of 4 decades, and later instead of discarding it was etched in stone in our colonial constitution of India.
as the Classic Digest short version. TK U MLJ LV NV
How the hell I ended up spelling Gandhi like that may be attributable to the fact that I was born on August 14th 1947 at 10 pm so I am two hours older than Modern India. I always wondered about that as India achieved independence at the strock of Midnight on August 14th it only began to exist on the 15th and yet I've seen many references to the official date being the 14th. Pakistan's independence from Britain, on the other hand, is officially the 15th. So I may be wrong but an Indian doctor who treated me a few years ago looked at my chart and told me that my birthday was the same as India's. In Salmon Rashdie's novel, Midnight's Children, it is also dated as the 14th. So I think that your date makes more sense but it seems the official date is the 14th. BTW In the hope of bringing peace to you and Annie, I'm going to copy my earlier comment to the forum with the correct spelling of Gandhi, of course.
Your analysis is masterly and my poem was born of pique at a catty slur on Bharat Mata by a Brit lady and so in historical analysis my emotions may not stand the Test of Time : 2 minor quibbles 1. It's Gandhi Not Ghandy and 2. 15th. not 14th. August is our National Birthday when the Brits fled our shores.
Our Greatest Poet the Nobel Laureate Tagore was an Universalist and as much of an anti-nationalist as you are: i'm a little hurt that the titans of this thread have no idea of Rabindranath Tagore
P. S. George tge V knighted him but after Jallianwallah Baug massacre he felt personally humiliated at the naked barbarism displayed brutally by the Raj and he renounced Knighthood!!!
Ashesh9, you know better than I the horrors perpetrated by the British Narco State that paid for its subjugation of Indian with the drugs it forced on the Chinese. And then there is the rest of the Empire upon which the sun never sets, where rapacious plundering and arrogance went hand in hand.
The three hundred years of cruelty in Ireland and the subjugation of the highlanders in Scotland add to the English crimes on the charge sheet and then there is the treatment of the lower classes in the United Kingdom. For the treatment of the lower classes in the home of the Mighty British Imperial thugs stung as badly as the caste system in India.
Then there is the enclosure of the commons and the robbing of their means of subsistence of the English peasants at the dawn of the capitalist economic system. Strangely, the equivalent of the enclosure is happening in India today as farmers lose their land to corporate interests and the despairing act of suicide is rife among Indian farmers—and we are now 4.5 months away from the August 14th when India celebrates its 70th birthday as a modern independent state that was born when the British left in 1947. So it isn't ultimately the British or the Japanese or Pakistan or the Hindus, Moslems or Christians that are the problem it is the global economic system whose teeth have been sharpened by the neoliberal agenda that has ravaged the planet for the past 45 years. The British were not necessary once the capitalist jaggernaut got going and the American state succeeded Britain as the hegemonic state controlling the global economic system. That is why Europe had to loose its colonies—the Americans had a plan for exploitation which could be done without colonies as we have so clearly seen since the end of WWII.
Don't be like the British and substitute Indian Nationalism for British nationalism. Rebel against the very idea of a nationalism that ignores the rights of every single human being on earth to a life of personal dignity and where everyone is allowed to strive to reach their full potential without having to trample over others in order to achieve that.
Don't dismiss Ghandi as relevant to a bygone era. He is as important today as he was in the struggle against British Imperialism.
A gem of thoroughly good advice to guide one through a lifespan and all in in a tiny eight-couplet poem. Well done.
The imagery here is breathtaking. I found certain descriptions particularly striking, such as that of fat plums on the snow, and a grandfather shadow in slanting afternoon. Beautiful!
Vibrant imagery and an ending that pulls it all together in an unexpected way. Really enjoyed reading it and glad to see you on the forum, too!
I'm not sure about the sentiment expressed though. Still, can't deny its nifty.
puts me distinctly under your spell
mentioned in the Forum's New Poem Recommendations
in New Poem Recommendations
Very nice: simple and at the same time elegant. It took me a second reading to appreciate the last stanza. That's on me and my hasty reading the 1st time.
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