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Dipankar Sadhukhan
Dipankar Sadhukhan Kolkata / India, Male, 34
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M.A. (English & Bengali) , B. Ed.
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Dipankar Sadhukhan's last comments on poems and poets

  • POEM: To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell (9/25/2016 6:27:00 AM)

    Metaphysical poetry flourished in the 17th century and it was brought to perfection by John Donne and his disciple, Andrew Marvell. Marvell, in particular, attempted to combine levity with seriousness in English poetry. This is very much evident in his love poems like To His Coy Mistress. It is simply a poem of love, metamorphosed into a metaphysical experience. It is not an essay in abstraction like The Definition of Love.It is on the recurrent theme of carpe-diem, carpe-floem (catch the day, catch the flower) . Again the same idea recurs in ' Gather ye the rose buds, while ye may'. The theme is basically Epicurean or Hedonistic. The poet tries to persuade his ladylike to yield to him.

    The theme is familiar enough in European literature and runs back to roman time, to Catullus, for example whose ideas are taken up more delicately by Ben Johnson in the song, Come, my Celia let us prove/ While, we may the sport of love.

    The lady being reluctant, the speaker in Marvell's poem warns her that they may have little time to spare and unless they make the most of it right now, Time - the all powerful time will devour them. Then they will have to languish in his slow - chat power.

    The poem has a syllogistic pattern and progression. It consists of three sections, each section representing a step in the argument, first the supposition, then the necessity to reject it and lastly the consequence of rejecting it. The poet thought that they had unlimited time for love-making. The lady also would do exotic things in exotic surroundings. The lover continues to use hyperbolical statement to admire each and every physical organ of his ladylove. He like a mathematician divides his time of devotion to every organ. This part is comical and light hearted but thought-provoking. The readers of Marvell are greatly amused at his marvellous capacity of combining levity and seriousness.

    In the second part the poet gives one of the painful realities of life - time passes and beauty fades and we have to court death. Third section presents us with a fitting conclusion. It is no use delaying consumption. They should make love now and immediately. He reminds his ladylove that she has youthful vitality and burning passion. The youthful hue/Sits on thy skin like a morning dew. Time is favourable to them. They should not therefore let the opportunity slip away. They should, Tear our pleasures with rough strife/ Through the iron gates of life.

    The three sections contrast not only in what they say, but in their imagery, wit and tone. The imagery of the first section is an extravagant and far-fetched because he is indulging in pure fancy. In the third section, the imagery is full of vigorous activity and liveliness. So the tone of the poem is of varied nature. In the first section Marvell is light hearted and playful. There is airy about what he says. Suddenly he becomes serious. Unexpected intensity flares up and the rhythm becomes the more charged and the energetic when the subject changes from coy - virginity to the ruthless march of time- But at my back I always hear / Time's winged chariot hurrying near:

    Marvell poetry represents the typical metaphysical quality of the juxtaposition of incongruity with serious aspects of metaphysics. Marvell had the rare capacity of making the serious, light hearted and the light hearted, serious. Such is the metaphysical ingenuity of the disciple of John Donne.

  • POEM: Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth (9/25/2016 6:14:00 AM)

    William Wordsworth is a romantic mystic poet per-excellence. To him mystic experience is a kind of spiritual illumination. He is endowed with the capacity to feel the presence of the divine spirit in all things and of unity in diversity, of the infinite in the finite. Walter Raleigh said, it is the mark of the mystic that he never despises sense, never uses it as a means to an end, stepping stone to be spurned when he has raised himself higher............ here or nowhere, now or never, the soul of thing is to be found. Wordsworth has a transcendental outlook on nature and human nature.
    In Tintern Abbey, the poet speaks of the sublime blessing that is received from his deep contemplation of the beauteous aspects of nature. The psychological aspects of a human being are suspended for the time being in nature. The body becomes inactive and the soul becomes active. Then only the worshipper of nature can realise the hidden truth of nature.
    Tintern Abbey, a miniature of his greater epic, The Prelude, is a spiritual autobiography of Wordsworth. Five years ago in 1793, he visited a ruined cloister, Tintern Abbey by the side of Wye. Again in 1798 he revisited the same place with Dorothy his friend, philosopher and guide. But during the second visit Wordsworth was completely changed from within and without.
    The Wye flows through Wales and England, and joins the severn flowing into Bristol channel. Tintern Abbey is situated some ten miles above the point where the Wye joins the severn. There is one of the most famous and ancient ecclesiastical ruins in England. It is situated on the right side of the river.
    Wordsworth, it is known, was deeply influenced by the spiritual impact of nature. In The Prelude in his autobiographical epic, he narrates the growth and development of himself as a romantic poet. In Tintern Abbey also he classifies and describes the three corresponding stages of his life. This division is almost similar to Shakespeare's passage on The Seven Ages of Man and Keats' The Human Season. He divides his life in nature into three major stages - boyhood, youth and maturity. In his boyhood, the poet felt coarse boyish pleasure in the direct presence of nature. At this stage he had a purely animal delight in every natural beauty. He was haunted by nature and went wherever nature led. He bounded over mountains, by the sides of the deep rivers and streams like a 'roe'. He was again armed by the sounding cataract, the tall rock, the mountain, deep and and gloomy wood, their colours and forms. Such beauties increased his 'appetite'. Indeed it is a period of 'aching joys' and 'dizzy raptures '. Nature was then all in all to him.
    Such aesthetic joy is no more and he becomes more calm and quiet. In the second stage the poet was enchanted by the loveliness of nature and he can now listen to 'the still sad music of humanity'. His reflective communion with nature has enabled him to see into the deeper mysteries of the universe. Contemplation over human sufferings has chastened and humanized his soul.
    In the last stage of maturity, Wordsworth is eager to make quest for the address of God or the omnipotent force that runs through all things. This is the stage of his spiritual realisation. The unintelligible mystery of the world has now been unveiled by nature to Wordsworth.
    The last stage of maturity is definitely a stage of mystical realisation and reflective communion. Pantheism (Pan - all, theos - believe) is the very foundation of Wordsworth philosophy of nature. It is a direct corollary from a feeling of mysticism. It means that the divine spirit, if it is God, is omnipotent and omniscient. The poet believes, according to his pantheistic creed, the nature is the visible garment of God. Such a sublime philosophical thought is well recored in a majestic poetical structure, decorated with mighty, grand and Miltonic blank verse.

  • POEM: Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (9/25/2016 5:59:00 AM)

    In the introduction of The Lyrical Ballads (1798) , Wordsworth and Coleridge professed their points of view regarding the nature of lyric poetry and their own practical principle to be employed in their poems. Wordsworth concerned himself with nature and human nature and Coleridge often wrote dream poems under the influence of opium and the poems also appeared to be fragmentary. Among the marvellous creations - The Rime of the ancient Mariner, Christabel (in two parts) , Kubla Khan are remarkable. Coleridge is an adept master in the realm of supernatural poetry and he is indebted to Spencer and medieval metrical romance.
    Kubla Khan, a vision in a dream is a fragmentary dream poem. It is about poetry and poetic inspiration. It is the most imaginative of Coleridge's poems. Swinburne observes, Every line of the poem might be subjected to the like scrutiny but the student would be none nearest to the master's secret. The spirit, the odour in it, the cloven tongue of fire that rests upon its forehead, is a thing neither explicable nor communicable.
    Kubla Khan is about two kinds of poetry. The first 36 lines are about naturalness, palpability and matter of factness of poetry. The second part of the poem is essentially concerned with divine inspiration. The last part is also on the theory of poetic inspiration and creativity. The first part is concerned with the relation of man to nature. The second part is related to divine aspect of poetry. Herein lies the organic relations between the two parts.
    Kubla Khan is indeed a forerunner of modern poetry. There is a chain of ambiguous and paradoxical aspects of poetry and philosophy. Its fragmentary nature indicates its modernity. It is, in its depth, a definite comment on the modern world and its separation of head and heart, action and contemplation.
    Symbolism is the main criterion of Coleridge's poetical craftsmanship. G. Wilson Knight, in his illuminating article, Coleridge's Divine Comedy, has analysed the symbolism of the poem.
    Kubla Khan, the great oriental king once ordered that a magnificent pleasure dome be built for him in Xanadu as his summer capital. The sacred river, Alph winding its course through immeasurably deep caves ultimately to sink into a dark subterranean sea. A fertile tract of land, about ten square miles in area was enclosed with walls and towers. There are bright gardens and ancient forests forming a vast green spot.
    Next the poet describes the source of the river, Alph. There was a deep, mysterious and fearsome chasm that slanted down a green hill. There are many cedar trees. It was a savage, holy and enchanted place, frequented by a woman desperately wandering about under a waning moon in search of her demon lover. A mighty fountain burst forth from this chasm intermittently. Huge rocks are bursting out of it with the sound of hail storm. The noise is tremendous. The Alph comes out of this fountain and flows for five miles through woods and valleys. Then it sinks into the sunless sea with a loud noise. In the midst of this noise, Kubla Khan could hear the ancestral voices predicting a war. The pleasure - dome was a sunny dome. It's shadow fell midway on the river. While standing here, one could hear the mingled noises from the fountain and the caves.
    In the second part of the poem, the poet gives a picture of a poet caught in poetic frenzy. Here Coleridge is dealing with the theory of poetic inspiration. In one vision, he saw an Abyssinian maid playing on her dulcimer and singing of the wild splendour of Mount Abora. The pleasure dome for the poet is a miracle of art because it includes 'sunny-dome' and 'caves of ice' - life and death. Coleridge's concept of poetic frenzy is akin to Shakespearean vision. Humphrey House considers the poem a poetic creation about the ecstasy in imaginative fulfilment.
    The main metaphorical meaning of the poem is hidden in the concluding part. There is no doubt that Kubla Khan is basically a critical commentary on Plato's theory of poetry. There is the concept of madness in Plato's The Ion and Phaedrus again Shakespeare equates the poet, lover and the lunatic in the same category in A Mid Summer Night's Dream. The 'flashing eyes' and 'floating hair' of Coleridge's poem belong to a poet in the fury of creation. So there are verbal resemblances in the versions of Plato, Shakespeare and Coleridge.
    Socretes in his Ion compares lyric poets to 'Bacchie maidens who drew milk and honey from the rivers'. They acted under the influence of Dionysus. In the final section, the poet speaks of a strange vision of an Abyssinian maid playing on her dulcimer and singing of the wild splendour of Mount Abora. The poet is caught in a mood of poetic frenzy with a paradise vision. The readers of inspiratory poetry will go round the poet three times to protect themselves from his magical frenzy. They will experience a kind of fear as one feels in the presence of God. It is holy fear because thought the poet is a magician, there is nothing evil about his magic. The poet seems to be fed and nourished on honey dew falling from the heaven. He drinks nectar, a sort of magical drink which produces divine inspiration in the form of melodious hymn.

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