Introduction to poem and poet:
Nissim Ezekiel is a very thought provoking and coercive poet whose poem *Enterprise* is written in form of allegory ’extended metaphor’ that is suggestive of *THE JOURNEY AS A METAPHOR FOR LIFE.* With his convivial inception of the poem, the poet implores the mortals –the idea of team spirit, need of keeping alive the high energy levels at any point during any project and the role of the individual in a team project. With the high energy I remember a maxim that says something similar to this –
Life is not a 100 metre race it is a marathon that need to be swiftly and constantly trekked.
IT STARTED AS A PILGRIMAGE,
EXALTING MINDS AND MAKING ALL
THE BURDENS LIGHT.THE SECOND STAGE
EXPLORED BUT DID NOT TEST THE CALL
THE SUN BEAT DOWN TO MATCH OUR RAGE
So, in this piece of the poem, the poet talks about how the journey in quest of knowledge, wisdom, intellect and erudition started and everyone is obscured about the stride they were following. They were moving /progressing ahead in this journey of life in order to find solace and tranquillity. Unaware about their trajectory still they had reason to travel – travel in all 4 seasons of earth.
WE STOOD IT VERY WELL, I THOUGHT,
OBSERVED AND PUT DOWN COPIOUS NOTES
ON THINGS THE PEASENTS BOUGHT AND SOLD,
THE WAY OF SERPENTS AND GOATS
THREE CITIES WERE A SAGE HAD TAUGHT
The Poet explores the idea that process of self- exploration happens in the perpetual journey of life. WE represents the throng/herd/ flock of people drifting/ travelling as a team, as they trespassed the threshold they penned /scripted various manifestations and incidences that glazed them in the journey of life. SERPENTS Vis snakes symbolizes the evil and sinister that will be one colour of life whereas GOATS that emphasizes the peace and tranquillity will be another vibrant colour of life so how both these colours need to be concocted in order to experience bliss of life is the lesson being learned at this juncture. By now, they have travelled/voyaged 3 cities and have started cognizing the lessons one after other.
BUT WHEN THE DIFFERENCES AROSE
ON HOW TO CROSS A DESERT PATCH,
WE LOST A FRIEND WHOSE STYLISH PROSE
WAS QUIET THE BEST OF OUR BATCH.
A SHADOW FALL ON US AND GROWS.
So, here comes whirling point –point at which they*group* started getting detached and how the differences started unveiling. As in the trespassing of desert their occurred some feud that made a friend separated from the GROUP – this friend was the one who was the most prodigious and astute of all of us and represented the strength of the group. Losing out this one marked the symbol of bad omen following us and that would halt our journey into next colourful event of life.
ANOTHER PHASE WAS REACHED WHEN WE
WERE TWICE ATTACKED, AND LOST OUR WAY.
A SECTION CLAIMED ITS LIBERTY
TO LEAVE THE GROUP, I TRIED TO PRAY.
OUR LEADER SAID HE SMEALT THE SEA
So, now the line marks that life is a never ending journey as you cross one hurdle there is something next awaiting/looming for you. In this continual process the poet dolefully marks about battle of labyrinth and another section of people who were prophesying to leave the GROUP before another unarticulated hurdle in form of turbulence envelops them, at this juncture/seam leader / protagonist gives them a sign of relief by demystifying the group about the aura of sea he could smell and the beautiful and vivid colour that was awaiting to welcome us.
WE NOTICED NOTHING AS WE WENT
A STRAGGLING CLOUD OF LITTLE HOPE,
IGNORING WHAT THE THUNDER MEANT,
DEPRIVED OF COMMON NEEDS LIKE SOAP
SOME WERE BROKEN, SOME MERELY BENT
As they are roving they couldn’t see a single ray of hope – a light that would add colour of joy and tranquillity within these mortals who are in lurch of calmness and serenity. The only symbol was the straying cloud but that too intermittent by the sun. At this phase they are divested/deprived of elementary /indispensible necessities of life (soap‘s unavailability speaks of the pain and agony they are experiencing). They were lost in the forlorn with their heart broken and no hope left to embolden them to keep pace with the life.
WHEN FINALLY, WE REACHED THE PLACE,
WE HARDLY KNEW WHY WE WERE THERE.
THE TRIP HAD DARKENED EVERY FACE.
OUR DEEDS WERE NEITHER GREAT NOR RARE
HOME IS WHERE WE HAVE TO GATHER GRACE.
By the concluding paragraph, the lines leave an indelible imprint on the mind of the readers and leave them thought provoking. Throughout the voyage of life do many deeds, we make so many mistakes, face trails and travails, faces windfall and misery but the only lesson we need to learn is never put a full stop to this journey because: HOME IS WHERE WE HAVE TO GATHER GRACE-
Implies these different phases are different colours, different experiences of life and in order to knit a serene life we have to conquer / surmount every phase with dynamism and vitality. Conquer yourself first and then explore the world.
STOLEN FROM SOMEONE ON FB :P