A marble plaque on the wall of the porter’s lodge next to the gates of an old house on one of the busiest thoroughfares of Kolkata announces in Bengali that this was where Derozio lived, ‘greatest of teachers, pathfinder of rationalism, and forceful warrior against the practice of widow-burning’. Characteristically, at least of local popular perception, no mention is made of his poetry at all. That Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-31) became famous in his lifetime as India’s first ‘national’ poet, as one newspaper review at the time described, is ignored here, but the slip is typical of the disproportionate amount of attention that has been focused so far on the part he played in revolutionizing the social and political life of nineteenth-century Bengal.
Poetry has been, the least discussed aspect of Derozio. The legacy of the first modern poet of India has become confined to a parochial interest in his effect on Bengal and Bengalis, where work on the subject has achieved the status of something of a cottage industry. So why has ‘Derozio-the poet’ being neglected?
Buddhadeva Bose, a noted Bengali critic, pointed out in his introductions to Kalidasa’ Meghdut that the body of Sanskrit Literature is like a vast and venerated corpse for the ordinary Indian reader primarily because of the divorce effected in modern life between the everyday and Sanskrit. Similarly, Derozio’s verses can be compared to Sanskrit in its often remote English literariness; even more pertinently, for the contemporary reader, it is the Romantic urn to inwardness and the Modernist turn to the quotidian that informs all of his or her understanding of what poetry is constitutive of. It is an aesthetic common to both these traditions which, especially in the first half of the twentieth century, has encouraged the reader to look at the poem in isolation; consequently, Derozio’s poems, to understand the concerns of which one must understand many of the political, cultural, and aesthetic values that he engaged with throughout his career.
Many poems of Derozio have been written as interventions in public dissussion, like much of English verse in the long eighteenth century was, and an analysis of the character of that verse is a very useful tool in our understanding of Derozio in relation to early nineteenth- century India.
In the discussion of Scotsman James Thomson’s ode ‘Rule Britannia’ (1740), Suvir Kaul points out, in language that could well be alluding to Derozio’s ‘Harp of India’:
If, then, ‘Rule Britannia’, proves resistan to analysis, it does so because in reading it we deal with, in some powerful ways, the problem of colonial modernity itself, and the role of literature, and more particularly, poetry, played in its articulation. â€¦ Thus ‘Rule Britannia’ is not simply evidence of the centrality of the nationalist concerns of contemporary poets; it is testimonial to the fact that poets in the long eighteenth century imagined poetry to be a unique and privileged literary form for the enunciation of a puissant (and plastic) vocabulary of nationâ€¦
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Very much like Derozio, Thomson, like many of his contemporary poets, ‘thought of poetry as an useful â€“ indeed recommended â€“ vehicle for commentaries on issues of great public significance for the nation and society. â€¦ Poetry including its lyrical forms, is not an exercise in inwardness for Thomson, but a viable and even vital way of intervening in, and molding, public discourse.
While there is not the slightest doubt that Derozio’s poems as they appeared throughout his life were part of a public discourse, it is only now that we get an idea of the literary and cultural field these poems are part of. The trajectory of Derozio’s development as a poet is impressive, and his literary achievement considerable â€“ if that accomplishment has not been accorded the honour it deserves, the fault lies in both the absence of sympathetic critics and in the Indian marginalization of the tradition of writing in English.
Some of the most remarkable poems of Derozio were written a year before his death, which consists of a type of Japanese Haiku verse written, one hundred years ahead of Ezra Pound’s attempt at similarly mysterious distillation in Modernist England. Five poems, called, variously, ‘Beauty’, ‘Grief’, ‘Fears’, ‘A Soft Voice’, ‘An Intelligent Countenance’. One of these, ‘Beauty’, read in its entirety, as follows:
Swam in the light of her own intellect,
And caught their lustre form her sinless thoughts.
This was the entire poem, and four others replicated this form, resulting in their description, as instances of ‘sheer conceit’. Abrupt and fragmentary in nature, they embody in their momentariness, the character and possibilities of the metropolitan that was unprecedented in the English language at this time. More expansive analysis of these five poems has been done later in this chapter.
One of his most famous poems is ‘Harp of India’ and this will be the first poem to be analysed in this chapter.
The Harp Of India
Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?
Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;
Thy music once was sweet – who hears it now?
Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?
Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;
Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,
Like ruined monument on desert plain:
O! many a hand more worthy far than mine
Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave,
And many a wreath for them did Fame entwine
Of flowers still blooming on the minstrel’s grave:
Those hands are cold – but if thy notes divine
May be by mortal wakened once again,
Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!
This is one of the most iconic poems of Derozio. In the first glance it might be just read as any other fourteen line poem, but the inclusion of the words ‘Harp’ and ‘India’ stimulate us to delve deeper into the contents of the poem. ‘Harp’ is a musical instrument mostly endemic to Ireland in the past two or three centuries, so how does it relate with a colonised country (in Derozio’s time) like India? Also, the inclusion of the word ‘India’ as a seemingly separate independent unit in pre-independent era is indicative of much more than what is visible or apparently comprehensible. It also must be taken into account here that Derozio was of Indo-Portuguese origin, and the usage of ‘India’ in such a prominent manner can only indicate that not only did Derozio take India as his home country but was also concerned about the shackled state of India under the dominion of the British and along with it the hope that the music of India be restored and her dignity and glory be strung again.
In India, the ‘Harp’ was the first musical instrument played by the Tamil people around 200 BC, as documented by the Sangam Literature. Bearing this strain of thought we might also relate that Derozio has used ‘Harp’ as a means to portray the rich and varied culture and traditions that India possessed and which were now being supressed by the British raj. The poet seems to echo the reverberations likewise in the 3rd line â€“ “Thy music once was sweet – who hears it now?”, implying that the rule of the British was actually a foil to India’s own native heritage and the rhythm and music of such a rich tradition has been subdued if not completely erased.
There can be other speculations as to why Derozio has used ‘Harp’ and not any other instrument in its place. Bengal itself had a very interesting ‘harp’ culture in its past. There are numerous instances of carved harps in the temple reliefs of Bengal dating back to before A.D. 500, but then the questions as to whether Derozio was privy about this or not. This is left to speculation itself.
‘Harp’ was one of the most important musical instruments of Derozio’s country of origin. The Arpa Juan Lopez harp played an important role in Portugal from the 16th – 18th century. This harp was used in the churches for religious ceremonies and discourse related events. Since Derozio himself was partly of Portugese origin, can the ‘harp’ mean a projection of his origin?
This poem can be read as a Sonnet but it errs from the conventional sonnets with a rhyme skeme of ‘a-b-a-b-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-c-b-b’ (we will come back to this later in the analysis) and the poem begins with a question â€“ “Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?”, but why does the poet begin with a question? During Derozio’s times the British had completely colonised not only the physical being of the Indians but also the mental capabilities of the Indian natives were kept in shackles. This situation is adequately portrayed by Derozio in this opening line as questions were oft thought of but never expressed due to the fear of the Britishers. This single line portrays the psyche of a native Indian who has been both physically and mentally colonised by the Britishers and Derozio at the same time is questioning through the same confines of the same line as to the causes for such a mental colonization too.
In the question â€“ “Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?” – ‘thou’ can be interpreted in a dual version, if we relate it with the title of the poem it seems that ‘thou’ is being referred to a harp which is hanging from a shrivelled tree branch. This ‘thou’ can also be interpreted as a personification of the Indian natives who are being ‘hang’st’ by the British in ‘withered’ India.
The entire constitution of the poem is an evolutionary process from being listless and gloomy to a gradual forceful build-up of yanking the causes of gloom away and replacing it by fervour and optimism for making things better. The usage of the words ‘lonely’, ‘withered’, ‘unstrung forever’; indicate a gloomy opening as the poet engages us to visualise an image of a neglected harp hanging on an almost dead tree branch. We are forced to consider and ponder the future of this listless harp â€“ Why is this harp left unstrung? Can this abandoned harp sing again?
We can almost feel a sense of opprobrium emanating from the poet as he visualizes this hang’st harp and it seems that the poet has hung his head in dismay and states â€“ “unstrung for ever, must thou there remain.” He continues through his reproachful broodings and conveys to us that this instrument was a harbinger of sweet melodies but, now that it is ‘unstrung’ the melodies are dormant; even the breeze soughs over it unable to wake the harp from its stupor. One can easily imagine a young lad of age twenty approximately staring up a gulmohar and seeing the rusted old unstrung harp on the upper boughs and longing for its music to echo in the meandering passages of the oreille. There is a sense of concern while at the next instance there is a strong sense of ire in the poet when he says “who hears it now”. The poet in order to convey both these contrasting emotions in a justifiable manner has used a hyphen. The shift from concern to ire is through the hyphen.
In lines 5th â€“ 7th line there is a shift in setting of the poem and the poet has used imagery modifications and metaphor depictions and personification technique to emphasis the continuation of the thought that he wants to project. “Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;” The ‘thee’ in this line is obviously a continuation of the ‘thou´ of the 1st line and it points to the same harp, but the point of interest here is the ‘Silence’ and ‘her’ words. ‘Silence’ is definitely a personification if we consider collaborating the meaning of ‘her’ in the same line. The poet has intended to show that ‘Silence’ is a female entity (due to the personal pronoun of ‘her’ being used) binding the harp to almost its death. It can also be stated that Derozio could easily have used the word ‘Death’ instead of using ‘Silence’ as the way he projects the harp in the previous lines seems that the Harp is dead but the usage of the ‘silence’ has changed the perspective that the harp is just not making its presence felt instead of completely being non-existent. The feelings of a small amount of stirring hope can be seen in Derozio through the mere utterance of this word. The death-like silence has neglected and muted the harp (6th line) and made it as useless as a “ruined monument” (7th line) in a desert. This imagery of the harp being in a similar state to ruins in a desert has three inferences regarding its past, present, and future states. Derozio seems to indicate that there was a loss of a glorious past (“ruins”), a miserable present, and an uncertain future.
From the 8th line onwards we find a shift in the focal point of the poem; it has now shifted from the ‘unstrung’ harp to the strummers and singers of the harp. There is also a shift in the poet’s attitude as well. The poet seems conscious of a difference. For the harp, not for the ruin, however, there is a future as there is a strong possibility of the mute instrument’s regaining its power once able hands touch its strings. And Derozio waits eagerly for the arrival of poets empowered to sing the song of India. Few readers will miss the poet’s real purpose. The harp that he directs our attention to is the immediate and the particular but more important than the single “lonely” harp is the miserable state of India bent double under the burden of slavery. In the first seven lines of his sonnet, Derozio underscores his unhappiness and displeasure and he, in a way, rebukes all Indians who have accepted their lot meekly and forgotten the past glory of their motherland, but from the 8th line onwards there is complete note of optimism in d poem.
Derozio laments that the fact the in the desolate times of India, there is no significant poet to ignite the zeal and positivity to the native Indians. The poet shifts from the instrument to the strummers i.e. the great poets who once transfixed the listeners with their poetic brilliance. Their hands “more worthy far” than his own, says Derozio, modestly, had struck at the “harmonious chords” in the past and the harp had then produced notes powerful enough to both enliven listeners and confer on the poets a kind of immortality. Though in their graves, bodily, these masters remain alive through their art. In this context, of interest is Derozio’s use of personification. Fame is seen showering honour on poets of the country and the wreaths placed have retained both their beauty and freshness as if in recognition and acknowledgement of their talent and the permanence of their poetry. But, in an India under British rule, there has been a sharp decline in the field of both art and culture.
In colonised India, there was great requirement to instil the confidence in the natives against the British rulers. The poets of the past were all departed but if their was any chance that the harp could again be restrung and the musical notes could again be played then Derozio himself wants to take up the onus for such a revival. Never once in this poem does he say that he is specially gifted for such a revival but nonetheless he wants to strike the strain again. There is almost a great urgency portrayed by the poet to ignite this revival and the poet seems impatient to release India from its bound form. This is shown from the use of the exclamation after the end line. Therefore we find a plethora of emotions and aspirations that the poet has portrayed through the medium of the words used and the case markings used. Just as the thoughts in our brains seem to jump to the next, Derozio has also carefully aligned to the same by overlapping two similar image settings having the same strain of gloomy thought â€“ firstly, the unstrung harp on a withered bough and secondly, the desert ruins.
The analogy of the workings a determined brain can be read from the mere reading of the poem (and not due to the established fact that the poem is a sonnet whose basic characteristics are raising the issue in the first part of the poem and presenting the solution in the second half). Derozio was responsible for the Young Bengal Movement which published journals to ignite the Bengal Renaissance. This movement established a band of free radical thinkers (known as Derozians). The Young Bengals were inspired and excited by the spirit of free thought and revolt against the existing social and religious structure of Hindu society. A number of Derozians were attracted to the Brahmo Samaj movement much later in life when they had lost their youthful fire and excitement. The poem completely iterates the ideals of this movement and likewise iterates the determination that Derozio sought to abolish the mental subjugation of the natives :
— but if thy notes divine
May be by mortal wakened once again,
Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!
There are two parallel portrayals of the same thought projected in this poem as is quite evident through the lines. The first portrayal is of loss of culture and heritage of India under the British rule as a result of which the native Indians have lost their existence and surrendered both mentally and physically to their colonial masters and the need of a leader to reinstate the belief in the Indians, therefore we find political overtones. The second portrayal is of the loss of passionate and determined poets who could ignite the readers in action through their fiery words, therefore we find overtones of the lack of creativeness that has engulfed India in the era of suppression. Collectiveness of both these overtones converges and leads us to belief that the purpose of Derozio writing this poem was not merely for publication status; instead he was in search of greater and lofty conclusions.
The poem is in a sonnet form with the rhyme skeme of ‘a-b-a-b-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-c-b-b’. This rhyming scheme differs from both the Shakespearean sonnet form as well as the Petrarchan sonnet form. Dante’s sonnet form and even the Occitan Sonnet and the Spenserian Sonnet forms bears little or no resemble to the rhyming scheme that Derozio has introduced in this sonnet. Another very striking feature that one can decipher in this poem is that he conventional sonnet divisions of octave and sestet (Petrarchan Sonnets) or the couplet (Shakespearean Sonnet) is not been attuned to. Instead Derozio seems to have divided this poem into two parts of seven lines each. Though the intention of projecting the problem and then giving the solution in the second part is identical to that of a Petrarchan sonnet; the difference lies in the number of lines devoted to each. Therefore, is it culpable to suggest that this sonnet was has been founded and propounded by Derozio himself?
While Derozeo’s language is reminiscent of Byron and Moore, his ardent love for his country, his passion for social reform and his tender and courageous humanity, are inventively his own. Even on his death bed, he did not lose either his equanimity of his brave faith. Like Donne, Derozio faces the awful mystery of death challengingly, triumphantly: “But man’s eternal energies can make An atmosphere around him, and so take Good out of evil, like the yellow bell That sucks from flowers malignant a sweet treasure tyrant fate! Thus shall I vanquish thee For out of suffering shall I gather pleasure.”
The intensity of feeling expressed in The Harp Of India and the poet’s firm conviction that his India will one day regain her past glory, leave readers in no doubt that there was nothing foreign about the poet Henry Louis Vivian Derozio except his name, over which, unfortunately, he had no control.
Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!
Life was loaned to Derozio for a short while by the almighty but that didn’t deter him from making sure that he stays in the hearts and minds of d readers of literature for eternity. Derozio’s life itself can be transgressed in this poem. Ups and downs and many more situations he faced in his tender life but he was determined to counter them all.
We will next be analysing certain ‘japanese verse form’ inspired verses of Derozio.
The ‘Japanese’ inspired verses of Derozio
The prosody of Japanese has been determined by the nature of the language. Stress accent, or quantity, the most common features of European poetry, are ruled out by their absence in Japanese. That is true, of course, of French poetry as well, but the excessive facility of rhyme in Japanese, where every syllable ends in a simple vowel and there are no consonant clusters. Japanese verses, then, came to be based on the syllable-count, and different types of poetry are usually distinguished by the number of syllables they contain. Thus, the tanka is a poem in 31 syllables, arranged in lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables. The haiku is a more recent development, contains 17 syllables, in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.
The range of the poetry is limited both by the shortness of the verses and also by what it was felt proper to include in a poem. The shortness is responsible, for the lack or true narrative poetry, since, obviously, very little can be related in 31 syllables, much less 17. One obvious feature of Japanese poetry is its power of suggestiveness. A really good poem, and this is especially true of haiku, must be completed by the reader. It is for this reason that many of their poems seem curiously passive to us, for the writer does not specify the truth taught him by an experience, nor even in what way it affected him. Thus, for example, the haiku by Basho (1644-94):
Kumo no mine The peaks of clouds
Ikutsu kuzurete Have crumbled into fragmentsâ€”
Tsuki no yama The moonlit mountain.
A western poet would probably added a personal conclusion, as did D.H.Lawrence in his Moonrise, where he tells us that the sight made him “sure that beauty is a thing beyond the grave, that perfect bright experience never falls to nothingness”. But this is what no Japanese poet would say explicitly; either the poem suggests it, or it fails. The verse of Basho’s just quoted has clearly failed if the reader believes that the poet remained impassive before the spectacle he describes. Even for readers sensitive to the suggestiveness qualities of the poem, the nature of the truth perceived by Basho in the sudden apparition of the moonlit mountain will vary considerably. Indeed, Basho would have considered the poem faulty, if it suggested only one experience of truth. What Japanese poets have most often sought is to create with a few words, usually with a few sharp images, the outline of a work whose details must be supplied by the reader, as in a Japanese painting a few strokes of the brush must suggest a whole world.
It is partially because of this feature of suggestion that Japanese poetry is communicated rather inadequately in English. The Western reader is often in the position of the lover of Russian ballet who watches for the first time he delicate gesture-language of the Balinese dancer â€“ no leaps, no arabesques, no entrechats, nothing of the medium with which he is familiar save for the grace and movement. The dance â€“ of Japanese poetry â€“ may appear over-refined, wanting in real vigour, monotonous, and so such criticism there is no answer.
Japanese Haiku verses have three major characteristics:
The essence of haiku is “cutting”. This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a “cutting word” between them, a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colours the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.
Traditional haiku consist of 17 syllables (also known as morae), in three phases of 5, 7 and 5 on respectively. Any one of the three phrases may end with the ‘cutting word’. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables, many a times its not followed.
A seasonal reference is important.
Modern Japanese Haiku may not follow the 17 syllable rule or deal with nature, but the technique of Juxtaposition is no doubt maintained.
In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku. This leads us to certain characteristics of the English Haiku verse form that more or less matches with its traditional Japanese counterpart.
A Haiku in English is a short poem which uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition. Some of the more common practices in English include:
use of three lines of up to 17 syllables; most commonly, 5, 7, 5
use of a season word (kigo);
use of a ‘caesura’ or ‘kire’ represented by punctuation, space, a line-break, or a grammatical break to compare two images implicitly.
English haiku do not adhere to the strict syllable count found in Japanese haiku, and the typical length of haiku appearing in the main English-language journals is 10â€“14 syllables. Some haiku poets are concerned with their haiku being expressed in one breath and the extent to which their haiku focus on “showing” as opposed to “telling”. Haiku uses an economy of words to paint a multi-tiered painting, without “telling all”. As Matsuo BashÅ put it, “The haiku that reveals seventy to eighty percent of its subject is good. Those that reveal fifty to sixty percent, we never tire of.”
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Surprisingly, we find similar traits in certain poems of Derozio that were published in The Gazette between the years 1829-31. This obviously leads us to an impression that Derozio might have studied the Japanese Haiku verses and incorporated in the English language but we can’t rest our speculations until and unless we examine these poems of the young Indo-Portuguese poet. There are five such poems.
These short poems, five in al, are indeed astonishing in character, for they defy all conventional norms of early nineteenth- century verse, composed as they are of brief two or three line images. Approximating the ideals of what would, a century later, be celebrated as Imagist verse; the only poetry that comes to mind upon reading these one sentence poems is the Japanese Haiku, popularised by Ezra Pound at the height of the Modernist thrust towards concreteness in language, although it is not the image that is of central importance in these poems by Derozio. Let us analyse each of the five poems.
It is to be known that the analysis that follows is strictly adhered to the style and technique that Derozio has used.
Swam in the light of her own intellect,
And caught their lustre form her sinless thoughts.
This short poem definitely doesn’t abide by the image-centric notion of the Japanese Haiku. The form of the poem recalls Pound’s famous “In the Station of the Metro”:
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Beauty doesn’t follow the syllable pattern of the Japanese Haiku. The traditional pattern of 5-7-5 syllables is instead replaced by 2-10-9 syllable pattern in the three line format. Mention of neither any form of nature nor any indication of the season at the time of writing is shown through the lines which is traditional of the haiku. Juxtaposition technique has not been implemented.
This short poem is focussing on ‘showing’ rather than telling the reader. In other words, Derozio has seemingly tried to showcase to the reader the beauty in a lady’s eyes. Rather than telling the reader about the physical impressiveness of the lady’s eyes; the young poet resorts to the philosophical strains thereby inclining the reader to apply his or her own interpretation and imagination on these enigmatic three lines.
A Soft Voice
Could flowers discourse,
Those which we deem most delicate, methinks
Would imitate her gentle utterance,
And tell their odorous secrets to each other
In language silken as her own.
The foremost striking thought after reading this short poem is the union of nature with the the aesthetics of a scholarly, i.e. Derozio questions, (rather wants) whether the delicate flowers have the strenuous tenacity to give a discourse. The union of nature is also made with the genre of language. Derozio in the last line almost projects the intricate silkiness of the flower with the intricacies of the language. This adheres to two important characteristics of the traditional Japanese Haiku, i.e. of including the enigmas of nature and the technique of juxtaposition. He seemingly connects two pairs of unrelated individuality â€“ nature and scholarly aestheticism, nature and language.
The traditional syllable pattern has not been followed at all. Rather it seems that two pairs of Haiku verses have been deliberately inked together with the conjunction ‘and’.
In this poem, we find a decentralizing of an image. The relation between ‘A Soft Voice’ with that of ‘flowers’ does not allow the reader to arrive it any mainstream image. Its obscure. Derozio continues to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’.
—— Her heart was in her voice;
And that was musical with sorrow, — strange
That grief should speak in tones so wildly sweet
And wear such softened features, as to seem
What we might love for very sympathy.
Deliberate usage of ‘hyphens’ to show pauses and deliberations in the continuity of the thought process. Punctuation marks are of prime importance in traditional Haiku verse and contrary to the previous two poems, this poem includes this trait. In the first line, the long deliberate hyphen seems to indicate that there was a certain realization after prolonged thinking and the conclusion â€“ “—– her heart was in her voice”. It seems that Derozio was in deep contemplation to figure out the nature of the voice of the ‘her’ concerned. The second deliberate long hyphen indicates the poet’s own comment on his sudden realization.
Traditional syllable pattern has not been followed. Juxtaposition technique has been followed. Nature hasn’t been included; instead certain mental nature of man’s psyche has been included.
An Intelligent Countenance
And as he passed from mood to mood,
Each change was visible upon his face
That varied like a dream incessantly,
Yet spake that language which th’ unlettered savage
Has learned from Nature’s teaching; and you saw
His radiant mind illumining his eye,
Like the light streaming through a lamp.
Hast thou been tortured by those breathless fears
That grow in reality, until
Madness were bliss unto their victims? No?
Then thou art blest. The misery next to this,
However dark, and insupportable,
Is paradise to such extreme of woe.
These are the rest of the two poems that completes the five. Both these poems seem like randomness of exultation that many a times a person tends to feel abstractly rather than being anywhere near to the form of Haiku in style n technique.
There is a mixture of adhering to the original haiku form as well as not adhering to it in the collective culmination of these poems of Derozio’s. To completely state that Derozio had any kind of connection to Japanese Haiku would be foolhardy itself. It might also be a mere coincidence that critics have been conferring a union between these short poems and the Japanese Haiku. Nonetheless, saying this one can’t but wonder that these poems seem to be a forerunner of the Imagist movement of Pound propounded a century later than Derozio’s existence.
These five poems result in the description of being as instances of ‘sheer conceit’. Abrupt and fragmentary in nature, they embody in their momentariness, the character and possibilities of the metropolitan that was unprecedented in the English language at this time.
These poems were written during the last days of Derozio’s life, and unknown to him he was approaching his final few days
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