Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Category: Others

Poetry Analysis: Pablo Neruda’s “I do not love You”


Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet, was endowed with the Nobel; Prize for Literature in 1971. The writer’s original name being Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, he assumed the pseudonym Pablo Neruda for about 20 years before legalizing the same in 1946. Neruda is said to be the most popular amongst the Spanish American poets His writings exhibit a preoccupation with the 1940s political struggle of the left. His works also reflect the socio-historical developments in South America. He also penned numerous love poems.

The poet puts across all the set standards for measuring love. He starts with ‘salt’ that has been a benchmark in many legends. Especially in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Cordelia’s reply to Lear was that he is to her as important as salt. The poet uses ‘salt’as a hyperbole here,and in the process may also regard to it as an essential element of life-forms. “Rose” was generally used in the 17th century poems with the ‘carpe diem’ motif. The image of rose stood for the brevity of Life, and to love as long as life lasted. The poet means to say here that he does not love her because Life is short ,but for the sake of love itself.…

Poetry Analysis: Kishwar Naheed’s “I am not that Woman”


The poem”I am not that woman” exemplifies the stereotyping of women in a patriarchal society .As she is limited to the domestic domain and household chores, she iterates that her reputation is not limited to selling socks and shoes, for she too possess an intellect .The speaker asserts that she possesses an individuality that the man tries to conceal in walls of stone, while he wandered around free as the breeze. The speaker claims that he can only imprison her physical being and not her spiritual self for her voice could be heard. It could not be smothered or stifled by stone. The phrase ‘that woman’ in the title of the poem mocks at the general conception of women in a male- chauvinistic society.

Selling you socks and shoes!

Remember me, I am the one you hid

In your walls of stone, while you roamed

Free as the breeze, not knowing

That my voice cannot be smothered by stones,

She is rather, the woman who has been crushed by the rigid constraints of custom and irrational barriers of tradition. Nevertheless, light cannot be hidden in darkness and manifest itself. A woman is the epitome of light (knowledge) As the saying goes: “If a man is educated, an individual is educated but if a woman is educated, the whole family is educated.” She is the lap that ensures security, caring and sharing.…

Poetry Analysis: Allen Curnow’s “House and Land”


Allen Curnow’s “House and Land” published in 1941, is one his most frequently anthologized poems. Allen Curnow’s “House and Land” investigates the sentiment of alienation experienced by the settlers even though they have spent two generations in the adopted land. Curnow emphasizes the theme of displacement. Though the sellers displaced from England to New Zealand, they failed to recognize New Zealand as their homeland. Though they live in the adopted land, they have not yet adapted to the circumstances. Miss Wilson, the daughter of one of the settlers finds herself filled with a void. The historian asks the cowman:

Wasn’t this the site, asked the historian, Of the original homestead?

The phrase” under the bluegums” underlines the feeling of depression. The dog seems to be brooding and wasting itself as it languishes around. It just lazily strolls from privy to fowl house-to privy. It senses the innate stagnation, the state of decay. He senses that it is going to rain. Rain is a symbol of fertility and redemption. The historian learns that the lady lives a luxurious life, her expansive building being equipped with all the basic amenities of life. Nevertheless, their long-tern affair has not brought in it any genuine emotion, they feel detached as though they do not belong or fit into the place.…

Poetry Analysis: Allen Curnow’s “Continuum”


Allen Curnow’s  works concerning “the New Zealand Landscape and the sense of isolation experienced by one who lives in an island colony are perhaps his most moving and most deeply pertinent works regarding the New Zealand condition. His poetry specially concerns landscape/isolation.”

The poem “Continuum” is a poem on the continuity of poetic inspiration. The poetic source of stimulation of great poets since ages has been the landscape. The moon has been a persistent metaphor for poetic inspiration in celebrated poems like Samuel Coleridge’s “Dejection: An Ode.” The poet’s quality of being a satirist is prominent here. He first asserts that the moon rolls over the roof, and falls back. This is to imply that his poetic capabilities are sinking. Subsequently, he goes on to substantiate that the moon does neither of these things, he is talking about himself. When poets do generally stumble in poetic output or due to lack of inspiration, they tend to blame the external circumstances. However, Here Allen Curnow asserts that the poet himself is to be blamed; for, Poetic inspiration comes from within and not from outside.

Being sleepless is not an excuse for writing a poem. Sleeplessness does not necessarily allow one to ruminate over a subject, or subjective thoughts.…

Poetry Analysis: Boey Kim Cheng’s “The Planners”


Boey Kim Cheng is a Singapore-born Australian poet Thoroughly disillusioned with Singapore’s exponential progress and hurried economic evolution, he believed that these were attained at the cost of spiritual stagnation and cultural retardation. His poem “The Planners” is very similar in design and theme to Margaret Atwood’s “The City-Planners”.

The planners of this so-called pseudo-modern civilization build their plan with such dexterity, that the minutest of demands are met. Their level of analysis scans all permutations of possibilities. The buildings are lined religiously alongside the roads. These roads are arranged to meet at convenient points, defying all logic. The different spaces are ‘gridded’ and linked mathematically in confinements, whereas creativity is infinite. The construction progresses and nothing interferes with it Even nature is not spared in the process, and therefore the sea draws back in fear and the skies surrender in abandon.

The flaws are effortlessly erased. Past mistakes are knocked of without any value, though one learns the most from one’s mistakes. The whole process is likened to a dental procedure. The blocks are removed with dental dexterity. All the gaps are neatly filled in with cement ‘like gleaming gold.” The country appears to adorn perfect rows of shining teeth, flaunting a flamboyant smile.…

Poetry Analysis: Moniza Alvi’s “An Unknown Girl”


Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan .Her father was Pakistani and mother English. She left Pakistan when she was a baby for England. The poet is thus caught between two worlds and her poems exemplify her quest for her cultural identity. The prescribed poem appears to be set in India. Pakistan was a part of India before the partition, therefore the setting may be a symbolic thirst for her motherland. The title of the poem is “The Unknown Girl”, though it may refer to the girl in the poem, it may be a pointer to the poetess herself as she is unknown to the roots, the unconscious culture and heritage ingrained in her.

The poetess states how her neon studded jewelry glared at her in the evening bazaar. A woman in India is closely associated with elaborate jewelry and embellishment. This forms a part of her individuality, and her femininity. The act of hennaing is a form of body decoration with the dye of a plant. With the act of Hennaing, she seems to impart to the speaker significant feminine aspects of the culture. The hennaing comes out of a nozzle, slowly descending on her as her tradition was. The semi-solid henna is cool and a good conditioner, and therefore the girl feels her hands being ‘iced’.…

Poetry Analysis: Derek Walcott’s “A Far Cry from Africa”


The West Indies is endowed with a composite culture encompassing mixed population thanks to its geographical position and the indelible impact of colonialisation. Therefore,  the aborigines of these islands were caught between two worlds-the cultures of Europe and Africa. The slave system also played a significant part in this division of the identity of the native. They are divided in their loyalty to their African ancestry and wider horizons of Western outlook. Walcott represents a fusion of both the cultures. Though he adores the African heritage, he also welcomes the Western stance. He asserts: “You can’t be a poet and believe in the division of man.”

The rough winds ruffle the yellowish-brown crusty surface of Africa. The population of Kikuyu tribesmen steadily increases, on the soil drenched in the blood of the victims of colonialization. That is, birth takes place on a stage were Death was enacted and re-enacted. There is the juxtaposition of the bizarre against something divine, as image emerges of corpses scattered through a paradise. The worm, the ultimate emblem of stagnation and decay cries not to waste invaluable time on the dead. The past has to be forgone, for the healthy growth of the present. One must concentrate more on the living than the dead

“Waste no compassion on these separate dead!”

Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy.…

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