Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher by Nissim Ezekiel Summary & Analysis


The poem Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher by Nissim Ezekiel somehow seems to be similar to The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet, an Elizabethan Poem extracted from Shakspeare‘s A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

The poem is about patience which according to the poet is the only way for the Poet, the Lover, and the Birdwatcher to succeed. In the poem, he describes that patience is the best action to achieve the goal.

Like “The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet“, the poet draws similarities between the poet, the lover and the birdwatcher. The poem has been divided into two stanzas having 10 lines each. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abbaacdcdd.


Stanza 1

The poem with simple words that to force the pace and never to be still is not the way of those who study birds or women i.e. those who hurry and are impatient cannot watch birds or please a woman or compose a poem.

The best poets wait for words. According to the poet, the hunt or struggle to watch a rare bird or please a woman or compose a poem does not require an exercise of will i.e. hard work but patience and love to watch slowly the movement of a timid wing of the rare bird on a hill.

Patience ultimately pays. The one who waits patiently for the woman to love him back ultimately wins her as she cannot resist surrendering herself to him when she knows that he truly loves her. Love is nothing without patience.

Similarly, the poet also needs to wait for the words that may come to him spontaneously. Those who wait patiently get the best words for their verses because they did not rush for the words.

Stanza 2

In stanza 2, the poet says that the slow movement seems, somehow, to say much more i.e. patience is more powerful than it seems to be.

To watch the rarer birds one has to go along deserted lanes and where the rivers flow in silence near the source or near a shore which is far away and thorny i.e. full of difficulties like the heart’s dark floor i.e. as deep in the forest as the core of heart which is also deep and dark. This is how a birdwatcher succeeds.

Next, he talks about the love of the woman. According to him, to find true love, a lover has to go deep into the darkness of heart and there the woman is not only flesh and bone but myths of light i.e. mysteries that remain in the center of heart’s darkness.

The line means that the lover of a woman if remains patient, will be able to explore not only the physical body and its pleasure but the mysteries of a woman’s soul which are more pleasurable.

Similarly, when the poet also remains patient to wait for the words, his poem’s sense is found i.e. he succeeds in composing a piece of art that the deaf can hear, and makes the blind recover his sight.

Poetic Devices

  1. Simile: “Remote and thorny like the heart’s dark floor”
  2. Personification: “His spirit moved”, “exercise of will”