Friday, February 10, 2006

Metaphysical Poets and Ghalib

Ghalib and Metaphysical poets? A friend suggested that there is a connection or similarity between these two poetries. Perhaps he implied that there is a shared ground between the Urdu ghazal tradition and the Metaphysical style. I dont think there is much of similarity between the two. The Metaphysical poets were avant-garde of the times, trying to reinvent the language of poetry to suit intellectual and cultural pressures of the times. Ghalib's poetry is stylistically far more conservative as he does not inflict violence to the language using far fetched and outrageous metaphors or `conceits'. The eternal and universal themes of love, death, and god can be found in any two tradition. Sher in Urdu ghazals come closer to the witty neoclassical couplets of Pope or Dryden which aspire to express `what oft was thought, but n'er so well expressed'. Besides, the religious poetry of Herbert and Crashaw is hardly as profound and dark as that of Ghalib. Existential agony, dark vision and unsettling expression of suffering that we find in Ghalib is far removed from the smart ingeniousness and cleverness of Donne and Marvell. I personally feel that Ghalib is far greater poet than the Metaphysicals.

No comments: