Navigating the landscape of verse

Sudeep Ghosh

The purpose of this article is to enhance students’ dialogic interaction with a text and gain what Patrocinio Schweikart, Professor of English, Purdue University, calls ‘a dual perspective through reading both the self and the text in question, and enacts a reciprocal relationship an – “interanimation” – among author, text, and reader that is mutually respectful and liberating.’

The role of a teacher/facilitator is to foster critical thinking skills and make students develop an individual way of engaging with a text aiming at conceptual clarity and sound reasoning. Close reading, the key to analytical success, also calls for the attributes of a caring and careful reader to create a space for imaginative speculation in conjunction with the subtleties of a text and concretise the effects in seeking meaning.

The poem I have chosen is by Hoshang Merchant titled ‘6th August 2007’

6th August 20072
(Remembering Hiroshima during the Iraq War)

‘I’ is un-important
All I is drained out of me
It has gone into You
You are pouring into Me
I and You become indistinct: WHERE IS I
If You are Me

Hiroshima was not necessary to conquer Japan
Nagasaki was not necessary to end the War

When they tested the Bomb at Los Alamos
Where sister lives
The radiation burnt everything
Leaving charred reflections of windows on the walls
Like charred reflections of love on our hearts’ walls
Now my sister is dying
I write this poem
Hiroshima’s last survivor remembers it all Still

The cloth is torn
Come love, bring me a needle
The needle of love
For the torn cloth of friendship, my friend, my love
Let us make love one last time…

My sister, my spouse lies dying
My love stitches a shroud
Death’s golden needle points to the grave
I go around a graveyard but can’t find your tomb

This page is a rose garden I go around
My dead blossom here
And darken my eye
with the light of a 1,000 1,000 suns
(For Adnan)

The author teaches English and Theory of Knowledge at The Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad. He can be reached at sudeepmailsu@gmail.com.

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