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Comparative Analysis Between Ezra Pound And Taufiq Rafat

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The eastern world is different from the western, but it always has high esteem for the westerns because they produce great literary works. One of the admirers from Pakistan is Taufiq Rafat, who adapts the principles of Ezra Pound and brilliantly exhibits them in his works. There is a comparative analysis to examine a few similarities between them. The comparison will justify the position of Ezra Pound as a great poet and Taufiq Rafat as his great follower.

Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound is one of the spearheads of the imagist movement. He has an idea for contemporary poetry, but he is discouraged by his country (America). It is unprepared for a new and radical thing. Then, he leaves for Paris. It is the center of arts as Florence used to be in the 19th century. He also joins the group of modernists and internationalists. They lay the foundation of a new movement to promote Imagism. Pound is one of the glowing figures among them. He promotes the notion of Imagism. He does not like the 19th-century tradition of poetry started by Romantics.

Pound writes the essay A Few Don’ts, in which he describes imagism more than a simple word picture. He says an image presents an intellectual and emotional complexity of the mind. It brings before the reader a new way of considering. He also gives some ideas about poetry. He suggests three principles to make the composition. The first is to treat the subject directly. This treatment can either be subjective or objective. The second is to avoid irrelevant words. These words create a space between appearance and reality. The third is to acquire rhythm that should not be from the outside source. His ideas are not only accepted by Western writers but by some Eastern. One of the writers is Taufiq Rafat from Pakistan. He is called Ezra Pound of Pakistan.

Taufiq Rafat

Rafat establishes pure Pakistani Idiom in English poetry. He strives to achieve a better understanding of English versification. He makes sure that the common words are convenient. They should not have offensiveness and indecency. He writes poetry that is free from resentment. He considers himself an ordinary person and tries to say things that mean something to him. His poetry covers aspects of everyday life. According to him, the job of a poet is to take an ordinary thing and raise it to a level of myth. He has complete control over the description of his thoughts and feelings. He is a great humanitarian who loves to reveal life and nature. His words express a simple life. They show human relationships and spirits. They are the whispers of inward feelings. Rafat is against the division of homeland and humanity, so he always suggests unity. He always intends to change this ordinary world into a magical world that should consist of utmost calmness.

Comparative Analysis

After the description of both poets, there is a comparative analysis of their works. It will justify the similarity between their styles and skills. The first comparison is between ‘In a Station of the Metro’ and ‘Wedding in the Flood’. In the poem, ‘In a Station of the Metro’, human life is summarized with Imagery. But this description goes beyond the limits of standard Imagery. And the poem ‘Wedding in the Flood’ presents a vivid image of Pakistani tradition and culture. It paints how the natural disaster ruins the marriage procession. The marriage is not postponed but ends with misfortunes.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:

Petals, on a wet, black bough.

The above poem is ‘In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound. It is one of the examples of Imagism. The poet shows two images in only two lines consisting of fourteen well-chosen words. The first line of the poem presents visual imagery. It describes his experience in a Metro Station in Paris, where the different faces of the individuals are with an equation of words. The second line contains visual imagery of black bough and tactile imagery when its leaves are shown wet.

This kind of treatment of the words creates visual and tactile effects. This poem is short but carries a deep meaning. On the surface, this poem has two separate images: the crowd and the branch. The poet is placing one image on top of the other so that a reader can see them as a single image. Therefore, the faces in the crowd become beautiful, like flower petals on a rainy day. The petals, meanwhile, become faces in a crowd. This new combined image is the real "apparition” that floats before the reader’s eyes like a ghost that lives in no particular time or place.

It is dark in the palankeen, thinks the bride,

and the roof is leaking. Even my feet are wet.

The above two lines are from the poem ‘Wedding in the Flood’, by Taufiq Rafat. These lines show the utilization of imagery, that Ezra Pound uses in his poem ‘In a Station of the Metro. In the first line the words ‘dark in the palankeen’, and the second line ‘the roof is leaking’ are visual imagery. The words ‘feet are wet’ are both visual and tactile imagery. For more proof about the similarity between both poets, there is further evaluation of two different poems ‘A Girl’ by Ezra Pound and ‘This Blade of Grass’ by Taufiq Rafat.

The tree has entered my hands,

The sap has ascended my arms,

The tree has grown in my breast-

Downward,

The branches grow out of me, like arms.

The above lines belong to the poem ‘A Girl’ by Pound. The starting lines show how the girl takes a shape of a tree. She develops sap and branches in herself and they are working like her arms and veins. She obtains a complete system of a tree. This explanation about the girl is visual imagery. The third line, ‘The tree has grown in my breast-‘, is organic imagery. It represents the internal sensation of the girl.

This blade of grass, what is it?

It is myself, six feet under,

breaking the silence.

In a strong wind, I am like a dervish

bringing ecstasy to your doorstep.

The above lines are from Rafat’s poem ‘This Blade of Grass’. The words, ‘This blade of grass’ produce visual imagery. In the second line, the poet considers himself a blade of grass. This image is also a kind of visual imagery. In the last line, the word ‘ecstasy’ is a kind of organic imagery. The ‘ecstasy’ is happiness that is received at the doorstep from a dervish.

Tree you are,

Moss you are,

You are violets with wind above them.

A child - so high - you are,

And all this is folly to the world.

The above lines are from the poem ‘A Girl’. These lines are the source of visual imagery because they present a young girl as a young tree; the mossy tree looks very young and seems tall. Further, there is an image of violets, which seem very fragile even in the wind. The representation of violets with wind is visual and tactile imagery. It makes a reader feel the softness of flowers and the wind. 

I am rough to the touch,

my edges are keen.

The above lines also belong to the poem ‘This Blade of Grass’. In the first line, the words ‘rough to the touch’ and in the second line ‘my edges are keen’ produce tactile imagery.

For more proof about the similarity between both poets, there is further evaluation between two different poems, ‘The Return’ by Ezra Pound and ‘Arrival of Monsoon’ by Taufiq Rafat.

See, they return; ah, see the tentative

Movements, and the slow feet,          

The trouble in the pace and the uncertain      

Wavering!

The above lines are from Pond’s poem ‘The Return’ in which the words ‘feet’, ‘tentative movement’, ‘pace’, and ‘wavering’ examples of visual imagery. All these words show the manner of movement.

And drunk with motion, clothes on the washing line

Are raised above themselves; a flapping sheet

Turns a roof corner into a battlement.

The above lines belong to Rafat’s poem ‘Arrival of Monsoon’ in which the words ‘drunk with motion’, ‘raised above themselves’ and ‘flapping sheet’ produce visual imagery.

Conclusion

Two poets are analyzed together to find similarities in their styles and techniques. One is Ezra Pound, a Western figure. His three poems are analyzed. One is ‘In a Station of the Metro’, which contains a very concise description of the station and the people of the modern world, the second is ‘A Girl’ that explains the feelings of a girl suffering from Apollo, and the third is "The Return", which is of a pagan god. The second poet is Taufiq Rafat, with the parallel ability, belongs to South Asia, Pakistan. His three poems are analyzed and compared with Ezra Pond. His first poem is ‘Wedding in the Flood’. His second poem is ‘This Blade of Grass’. It is a very concise description of Sufism. The third poem is ‘Arrival of Monsoon’. It is a vivid description of culture, tradition, and superstitions. These are the common elements of the subcontinent. These elements still survive in the rural parts of Pakistan and Hindustan. Both poets use several modern techniques, but in this limited study, two poetic techniques, frequently observed, are imagery and shortness.

This comparative analysis is done by Shajar Ali, one of the contributors at the School of Literature.

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