Taufiq Rafat, The Ezra Pound of Pakistan
When discussing that notion of Taufiq Rafat, the Ezra Pound of Pakistan, there are several aspects of his poetry revolves in mind.
Taufiq Raffat has undoubtedly established the English Poetry in Pakistan with his observations and creative style. Due to his efforts in introducing the Pakistani Idioms, a number of intellectuals and writers have regarded him as the Ezra Pound of Pakistani literature. (Hussain, J. Taufiq Rafat – The Ezra Pound of Pakistan)
Factors common in Rafat and Pound’s Poetry
Upon the examination of some of the factors, we can assess the above claim of the writers.
The most common factor that brings Ezra Pound and Taufiq Rafat on the same page is their modernist approach. Modernist poetry came up with the imagism and a free verse style. Modern poets were more inclined towards the consciousness and alienation. Almost all of these aspects are present in the poetry of Rafat and Pound, which makes them distinctive and exceptional poets. The free verse style is present in one of his poems called “Kitchens” where there is no rhythm and rhyme follow thing. Kitchens were places / we grew up in/ they attracted us/ with the pungency/ of smoke and spices. While he expresses his feelings about those times when we used to have kitchen as the meeting and discussion place. It reflects the Pakistani culture is replaced by sleek and modern kitchens now. This an open example of Pakistani idiom that we give him credit for.
Ezra Pound also did not bother about running after rhyme and rhythm. His only concern was conveying the message with his poetry. In the poem, A Girl, he has said The tree has grown in my breast-downward/ the branches grow out of me, like arms.
What makes more Taufiq Rafat, the Ezra Pound of Pakistan is the usage of imagery. The presence of imagery is there widely in the works of Ezra Pound and Taufiq Rafat. One of the famous poems of Pound called “In a Station of the Metro” is a finest example of imagery. Here, he has provided with the scenario of the metro station and the people commuting through it. In the second stanza, he says Petals on a wet, black bough.
He has compared people with those petals on the tree and the way they are appearing blurred in front of his eyes. There are two images happening, one in his mind and one before his eyes.
The likewise imagism is evident in the poem of Rafat as well, which is “This Blade of Grass”. At one place he says, I am rough to the touch, my edges are keen. It can be observed that how he has compared himself with the properties of grass, which he feels inside him. He says that he appears to be uneven from the surface, but he has that sharpness as well.
In both of the poems, the correlation in between imagination and sight is visible. It exposes the perception of an individual. Apart from the imagery, the metaphors of nature are another common factor in the poetry of Rafat and Pound. Both of them have taken depiction from nature and have utilized it effectively in their work. In the above mentioned poems, the interpretation of tree and grass shows that humans are not away from the nature.
The element of nature exists in the poem of the Wedding in the flood and A Girl by Taufiq Rafat and Ezra Pound, respectively. In both of the poems, the nature is playing a key role as their lives transform entirely. At the Wedding in the Flood, the rain is chief imagery because it is giving a distinctive setting. Here, a wedding is taking place during a rainstorm. This has been a long and difficult day. The rain nearly ruined everything, but at the crucial time, when lunch was ready, it mercifully stopped. Just like these lines, the mood of the poem has been all about how nature has acted in a destructive way at the blissful ceremony, which ends up on a tragic note. It also depicts the Monsoon time in subcontinent when there are rains everywhere and it is highly a part of our culture as well.
When we look at the Ezra Pound’s, A Girl, we find out that how nature has acted in safeguarding a girl when she was feeling helpless from everywhere. In the last lines of the second stanza, it says A child-so-high-you-are, and this is folly to the world. Although, the poem might be about transforming a girl into a tree, it also gives a message that you have taken a childish decision about changing your life from a human to a mere tree, but must not restrict your creativity with it. That even if she is a tree, she must not stop being helpful of herself.
In these two poems, the subject is similar, a girl, who is facing hardships of life, which verifies the modernist approach by these two poets. This shift to the novel universal themes can be seen in these two poets that how a girl’s life is changing rather than showing an unreal Cinderella sort of fantasy. This is the point that distinguishes the modern poets from their predecessors.
If we look into both of these poems, then we will find another common theme and that is about sacrifice. In the Wedding in the Flood, we can see the bride being worried about the unknown faces around her and her husband whom she does not know yet. Not a familiar face around me as I peep through the curtains. I’m cold and scared and What sort of a man is my husband? She is leaving behind her family and her house to be with the people who are unknown to her. She is certainly sacrificing her comfort zone and her habits to fulfill a social obligation.
The irony is that everyone in the poem is blaming the girl for rain instead of being empathetic with her about moving away from her home as her mother says The girl has been licking too many pots. Not only that her mother, but her father in law is also thinking the same when he thought that Dear God, how the rain is coming down. The silly girl’s been licking too many pots.
While discussing the theme of sacrifice in A Girl, we know that it is related to a Greek mythology in which Apollo falls in love with Daphne who actually hates him. To get rid of him Daphne asks her father to change herself into a tree. It is indeed a bold decision to change your entire self because of the other people. The tree has grown in my breast-downward, the branches grow out of me, like arms. Indeed, it is a form of sacrifice that someone is letting go of their personality, present, and future.
With the above comparison between the poetry of Taufiq Rafat and Ezra Pound, we can conclude that these poets have a number of same themes present in their work. Amongst which, imagism, metaphors, sacrifice and nature are the well known.
Is really Taufiq Rafat, the Ezra Pound of Pakistan?
Conclusively, we can reach up to the agreement that Taufiq Rafat is certainly an exceptional poet, who has given an all new dimension to the poetry in Pakistan. He has highlighted the culture, tradition, and ideology within his poems that turned out to be the basis of Pakistani Idiom for the very first time. Moreover, the essence of Ezra Pound’s poetry can be felt widely in Rafat’s words as well. This is certainly the reason that he was regarded as the Pound of Pakistan. `
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