Nissim Ezekiel

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

Minority Poem - Poem by Nissim Ezekiel

In my room, I talk
to my invisible guests:
they do not argue, but wait

Till I am exhausted,
then they slip away
with inscrutable faces.

I lack the means to change
their amiable ways,
although I love their gods.

It's the language really
separates, whatever else
is shared. On the other hand,

Everyone understands
Mother Theresa; her guests
die visibly in her arms.

It's not the mythology
or the marriage customs
that you need to know,

It's the will to pass
through the eye of a needle
to self-forgetfulness.

The guests depart, dissatisfied;
they will never give up
their mantras, old or new.

And you, uneasy
orphan of their racial
memories, merely

Polish up your alien
techniques of observation,
while the city burns.


Comments about Minority Poem by Nissim Ezekiel

  • Payal Priya (4/4/2017 12:45:00 PM)


    Kernels of wisdom beautifully presented.Truly the predicament of the modern alienated man who observes to make sense of his existence while the city burns.The poet aptly says that forgetting the self and serving others is true essence of humanity.Perhaps that's why we all understand Mother Theresa. Indeed a profound! Thanks for sharing☺ (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Glen Kappy (4/4/2017 7:08:00 AM)


    alien techniques of observation- dang! that's a striking way to end the poem and an apt description of us who are caught in the loop of our own worlds instead of seeing what is, what burns, before us. -glen kappy (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/4/2017 4:43:00 AM)


    While the city burns! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (4/4/2017 3:32:00 AM)


    a poem of feeling alone and unheard? ............well written. (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (4/4/2017 2:54:00 AM)


    Beautiful exposition. Very much relevant to the contemporary context. Thank PH to post the same. Thanks. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, March 28, 2012


[Report Error]