However in the second line the poet refers to the Zodiac which has predicted a creative phase of seven years for Sagittarians. The dichotomy of life is made use of again by Ezekiel. He further makes use of it when he says anyone can be a healer or sick. He makes use of the myth of Fisher-king as T. S. Eliot makes use of the same myth, where the sterility is reversed. Ezekiel in the second paragraph questions his identity. This identity crisis or questioning of identity is found in most Indian poets. “This is the place where I was born. I know it well. It is home, which I recognize at last as a kind of hell
to be made tolerable” The poet could be referring to his native land of perhaps it could be a reference to the basement Ezekiel lived during his stay in London in his early years. He then talks about change; he wants the fevers to come and the patterns to break. Just like antibodies fighting foreign bodies during a fever bring about symptoms of change the poet too wants change. I say to it and to myself: not to be dead or dying is cause for celebration He says to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life is reason enough for celebration because once a person is dead he will not be able to enjoy any worldly pleasure.
The poet purposely leaves the word “enough” and just says “is cause for celebration” in the last line of the 2nd paragraph because he wants to make enjoying simple things while alive an important cause and not derogate its importance. In the last paragraph of the poem we find that life experience has been turned into art experience. The commonplace spiders, ants, lakes and hills all become part of a beautiful work of art in the form of poetry. I seek on firmer ground, to improve my later fiction the fallen world a faithful friend Ezekiel makes full use of irony in these lines referring perhaps either to hell or the fall of man.
Ezekiel however wants to take the process of life birth and death too seriously, he would rather enjoy this process as a” bird in balance on the turbulent air” who despite all obstructions strains to stay young. Perhaps the poet is referring to humans who strain to stay young and beautiful and in this forlorn quest fail to enjoy the simple beauties of life. EZEKIEL’S STYLE OF WRITING Ezekiel is a dedicated person to the rhyme, the extremes and pitfalls. No other Indian-English poet has today shown the ability to organize his experience into words as competently as Ezekiel.
The remarkable aspect of his poetry is his sincerity and individuality. His poems generalize his own felt experience. It is neither repetitive nor shocking, but ‘simple, introspective and analytical. He treats poetry as a first-hand record of the growth of his mind. He loves simplicity. His love of the genuine is explicit in the following: Life in the city, sexuality, the problems of marriage, the need to overcome alienation and to create integration among the various aspects of his character are Ezekiel’s early and continuing themes.
There is a distinct personality expressed in the voice, themes and style. Life is seen as a quest for wholeness, for intellectual and spiritual satisfaction, for maturity. Ezekiel showed that it was possible to write about oneself without-being self-consciously Indian and that an Indian poetry could express the experiences of the educated and urbanized and need not be obsessed with mythology, peasants and nationalist slogans with him a post-colonial poetry started which reflects the lives and identities that an increasing number of educated Indians knew or would seek.
Ezekiel is a poet of many a theme and one finds wider range of subjects and variety in his poetry. His poetry is not born out of dogma and he does not confine himself to a particular type, theme or technique in his poetry. He has an open mind and therefore he changes the subject matter of his poetry from time to time. Ezekiel never postulates a truth but works out, in terms of irony, an answer which is purely tentative (uncertain). In effect, even in regard to ostensibly philosophic issues, the residue of significance lies not in the validity of the speculation but in the ironic stance of the contemplation.
The new poetry (i. e. , Indian English poetry after Independence) demanded a new use of language and called for the use of everyday speech rhythm in poetry. Thus there is a demand as it were, for the creation of an Indian English idiom, to give an identity to modern Indian English Poetry independent of and different from the world literatures written in English including Anglo-American literatures. Ezekiel has succeeded in creating a new Indian English idiom to a great extent.
Nissim Ezekiel accepts the established linguistic framework but his art lies in so changing a unit of expression as to make it expressive of a state of mind. He is capable of turning words into a metaphor, image or symbols as the situation demands. It is only rarely that we come across poetic counters of expression but there is a strong undercurrent of poetry in the seemingly prosaic words. This is his characteristic mode which demonstrates his command over language and saves his poetry from degenerating into bare statement.
Ezekiel is fond of using’ paradoxical language in his poetry for greater poetic effect. Ezekiel is a conscious poet ‘looking before and after’. To him poetry is not a gift to be adorned but a craft to be studied seriously. He believes in the revision of a poem and works hard on it, till it achieves a kind of perfection. A poet like a woman ‘must labour to be beautiful’. Ezekiel’s clarity of thought, clinical precision of words and phrases and employment of imagery make his poetry distinctly Indian.
Ezekiel’s greatness lies in his effort to avoid the mistakes, which his fellow poets committed. He is a serious poet. His originality lies in his typical poems, which are firmly rooted in Indian soil. He has their cautious, discriminating style, precise and analytical, with its conscious rejection of the heroic and passionate as also of the sentimental and cozy. The technique is immaculate: rhymes, and carefully varied yet regular rhythms, lines that run over with a poised deliberateness. But behind the casual assurance one senses the clenched first, the wounded tenderness. ”
Ezekiel’s concept is that writing poetry is not just a matter of inspiration but studying the skill of writing carefully. This study demands a lot of patience from the poet. Only when unskilled poets try their hands in poetry, poetry turns out to be self-advertisement. Many of Ezekiel’s poems express his view that poetry can be built in resolving the tension between two opposite forces and trying to maintain an equipoise (balance). CONCLUSION Unlike A. K. Ramanujan and Jayanta Mahapatra, Ezekiel will be remembered less for the totality of his work than for individual things in it.
Ezekiel’s influence on Indian poetry has been more than advice to other writers, the editing of journals, the teaching of standards and the creation of types of poems; he provided an example of a poet intellectually and morally concerned with living in the modern world, and making poetry out of experience. In his poetry there is the truth of acknowledging what is felt and experienced in its complexity, contradictions, pleasures, fears and disillusionments without preconceived ideas of what poetry should say about the poet and life. C. D.
Narasimhaiah compliments Ezekiel in the following words “But to the extent he has availed himself of the composite culture of India to which he belongs he must be said to be an important poet not merely in the Indian context, but in a consideration of those that are writing poetry anywhere in English”. What makes a poet belong to a particular country necessarily involves nationality, and his identity is to be found in being rooted in the soil. The opening up of Indian English poetry to reality in its many guises is perhaps Ezekiel’s most significant influence.