Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher by Nissim Ezekiel

One of the most famous modern Indo-Anglian poets, Nissim Ezekiel was an Indian-Jewish poet, actor, playwright, art critic and editor. He is often considered the father of Modern Indian English poetry by many critics. His poem ‘Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher’ talks about the importance of patience and perseverance to create poetry, court a woman or watch a bird. The poem appeared in his anthology of poems called “The Exact Name” in 1965.

To force the pace and never to be still
Is not the way of those who study birds
Or women. The best poets wait for words.
The hunt is not an exercise of will
But patient love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing;
Until the one who knows that she is loved
No longer waits but risks surrendering –
In this the poet finds his moral proved
Who never spoke before his spirit moved.

The slow movement seems, somehow, to say much more.
To watch the rarer birds, you have to go
Along deserted lanes and where the rivers flow
In silence near the source, or by a shore
Remote and thorny like the heart’s dark floor.
And there the women slowly turn around,
Not only flesh and bone but myths of light
With darkness at the core, and sense is found
But poets lost in crooked, restless flight,
The deaf can hear, the blind recover sight.