Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Poetry Analysis: Keki.N.Daruwalla’s “from Ruminations”

The poet senses that some impending violence is going to take place. He compares the violence to rain that would lash out at him. The violence is likened to the rain owing to its unpredictable nature and its ability to blind one’s vision. The violence would be caused by the mutual hatred which prevails between two different groups of people. The poet goes about looking for places where this violence might break out. Violence would lead to killings and the poet looks for the possible places where death might raise its head.

Only mass hatred dominates the scene set against the backdrop of the moon that is a pervading symbol of love. The violence stands brooding and stands like a cobra emblematic of imminent danger, and the poet is in a vulnerable situation as though he is prodding rat holes. In the attempt to close rodent holes and exploring echoing caves, he is haunted by the presence of fangs that dart. Dart may stand here for the verb ‘dart’ that means move quickly or the noun ‘dart’ that is capable of piercing. Impending violence sways like a pendulum rendering each moment lived cherished. It projects eyes that highlight hatred towards reptiles probably as reptile do scavenge. His wound does not turn green as they are always fresh and red. ’Green’ is a symbol of readiness. Keeping his fingers crossed, he looks for crossbones, a sign of danger. He hunts for death that has no hair in the bald bones. Hair is a dead tissue and is therefore not foregrounded in the context of death where everything else is already dead.

What governs the present now is the presence of flesh. The instincts of the flesh and physical presence of flesh dominates the scene now. His destiny lies in this area. Corruption rules the roost now. Floating smell emanates from the morgue. Socrates defined death as the absence of anything. People get used to death after a while. This is what the poet means that that death is so soft you put death ten days in a well and it turns soft. Rosewater, incense sticks, flowers do their bit in ridding off the stench of death with their aroma. What is the drift as it comes to us now shoving each other, says the poet. Another cadaver arrives at the morgue-verandah queuing up and therefore losing its individuality. The cadaver was supposed to be that of a woman whose husband had cut her nose off and plunged a knife into her breasts, as he suspected that she had an affair with another man. Her nose comes across as a fruit as the poet says it was ‘sliced off’ signaling a vegetative existence, and her lung punctured like car tyre. It was a story of infidelity and an incensed husband.

Man is so flexible and adaptable to situations, you bury him and he is as steadfast/firm as the earth. Burn him and he will take it as a challenge and ride the flames. You throw him to the birds and he will renounce flesh itself like as an ascetic.
Rain that generally stands as a symbol of fertility and positivity, assumes negative overtones in this poem. Rain rather than crying comes across as screeching and acting as a blindsheet blinding others’ vision. Once the blur lifts, the colours deepen and the hedge appears to smile making its curve apparent. The leaf that was hitherto coated in dust, now shines. The scum fills from the pool, once the pool is filled with water from the rain.

The poet too looks for a cleansed feeling, a sense of purgation, the kind you discover in a temple after taking bath in the river. However, the poet cannot find it as he has misplaced it somewhere in the caverns of the past. He cannot locate it at the present but is aware of the fact that it exists somewhere in the remote past.

© Rukhaya MK 2013

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1 Comment

  1. Ameet anand unnithan

    January 21, 2016 at 9:29 am

    A very enlightening analysis, helps to probe into the subtler areas of the poem.
    Good work Ms. Rukhaya

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