Nissim Ezekiel

(16 December 1924 - 9 January 2004 / Mumbai / India)

Island - Poem by Nissim Ezekiel

Unsuitable for song as well as sense
the island flowers into slums
and skyscrapers, reflecting
precisely the growth of my mind.
I am here to find my way in it.
Sometimes I cry for help
But mostly keep my own counsel.
I hear distorted echoes
Of my own ambigious voice
and of dragons claiming to be human.
Bright and tempting breezes
Flow across the island,
Separating past from the future;
Then the air is still again
As I sleep the fragrance of ignorance.
How delight the soul with absolute
sense of salvation, how
hold to a single willed direction?
I cannot leave the island,
I was born here and belong.
Even now a host of miracles
hurries me a daily business,
minding the ways of the island
as a good native should,
taking calm and clamour in my stride.

Comments about Island by Nissim Ezekiel

  • (6/6/2016 10:48:00 AM)

    The mesmerizing island indeed. Thanks for sharing this versified portrayal of Mumbai city. (Report) Reply

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  • (6/6/2016 10:22:00 AM)

    As I sleep the fragrance of ignorance.......A meaningful poem of human thoughts and failures. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (6/6/2016 6:56:00 AM)

    I am here to find my way in it! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (6/6/2016 2:21:00 AM)

    As a graduate student I rejoiced when the Illustrad Weekly printed some;
    Nissim Ezekiel was the presiding talent in the decades from 1950 on; later,
    P. Lal, also Dom Moraes. Glad to find this poem of N.E. here.
    (Report) Reply

  • B.m. Biswas (6/6/2016 12:25:00 AM)

    Slams....the picture the poem portrays is the proof of the shame of modern society...humanity....great poem...the birdwatcher.. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/5/2016 12:04:00 PM)

    Very well written poem, birthplace remains dear to everyone....10 (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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