I am back with another poem analysis that is on the syllabus for the subject; “Translation: Theoretical and Literary Perspectives” under the course BA English Literature triple main (Communicative English with Journalism).
Amin Kamil is a well-known Kashmiri poet, who is associated with the Writer’s Movement of the 20th Century, and has won several awards including Sahitya Akademi Literary Award, University of Kashmiri Lifetime Achievement Award and The Padma Shree. Amin Kamil was a major voice in Kashmiri Poetry and one of the chief exponents of the poetic form, Ghazal (between five to fifteen independent couplets strictly based on a sole theme and structure) in the language. Kamil’s other poems include ‘In Water’ and ‘The Dew’.
More about the author on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amin_Kamil
“The poem ‘Naked Thoughts’ bemoans the lack of appropriate means for free expression of thought and yearns for a new form of poetical experiment — a form unfettered by traditional patterns.” – K M George
‘Naked Thoughts’ is a poem translated by Trilonikath Raina and was first published in the anthology of ‘Modern Indian Literature’ by Sahitya Akademi.
My love provides this desert with
Your lovely hair’s luxuriant shade.
Time and gain your memory
Knocks wildly at the door of my heart.
Who would for ages live alone? –
It’s not with that wish we were born.
When the wind had idle sport with the lamp,
Trembling seized the lights of heaven.
Being helpless, for the mind lives close,
The heart put a lid on its agony.
Hate never will know softened lips;
Love is blest with streams of tears.
Old goblets are too small for thought –
I wish some better form were found,
Else I might sell, not sing love’s yearnings,
And follow only in others’ wake.
Who says man can’t be found here now?
Then what are these? Only ghosts?
The brocade of words is not to be had,
And naked thoughts just waste away.
The dog wears a collar of gold –
O how your barking thrills my heart!
In this city of sad decay
Even a fluttering heart is a treasure.
Summary and Analysis of ‘Naked Thoughts’ by Amin Kamil
The poem ‘Naked Thoughts’ by Amin Kamil is narrated in the first-person point of view. The narrator of the poem is describing his love for his lover; nevertheless, it is understood that his love is lost, and the narrator is yearning for a form of expression. The poem and the descriptive imageries are a reminder to the narrator about his love. The poem, ‘Naked Thoughts’ consists of several imageries that evoke the lost feeling of love however the theme of this particular poem reflects into the lives of the captive Kashmiri minds shedding light upon contemporary and political life.
The very first stanza portrays strong imageries. The narrator describes that his lover’s hair gives shade to the desert. This is a metaphor as he is talking about his lover’s beauty(hair). Both time and memory disturb his heart, by reminding him of his love. ‘Knocks wildly at the door of my heart’ is the metaphor here that emphasizes the pain the narrator feels. Then a question is being asked, ‘Who would for ages live alone?’ nobody wishes to live alone when they were born. The sad tone in the stanza is shown here, as the reader gets to know that the narrator is lonely and missed his lady love.
The lamp or the flickering of light is a constant imagery used in many poems. Here, the lamp is disturbed by the wind and as a result it frightens the lights of heaven. A metaphor is used to portray the strength of the wind and a contrast between wind and light is well noticed. He couldn’t do anything, his mind convinced him to put away the suffering. ‘Hate’ will never know softened lips, as ‘softened lips’ symbolizes a kiss and therefore love. In hate, the lovers do not share a kiss. The narrator says that love will also witness a lot of ‘tears’ which symbolizes problems or suffering. He uses the word, ‘blest’ (blessed) as if it’s a positive thing. However, it could also be a sarcasm.
‘Old goblets’ (wine glass); time taken during a drink is too less to think and the narrator wishes there was an alternative; and if he did, he would not sing or write love poems. Then these lengthy words (here referred to as brocade meaning richly decorated fabric or cloth) or naked thoughts about his lost love would not exist and it would just ‘waste away’ or be useless.
The narrator compares his lady love to a dog. Like she wears a golden necklace, the dog wears a collar and the ‘barking’ or the lady love talking excites his heart. Here a negative connotation is implied. On another reference, it says that the narrator refers to himself as the ‘dog’. People encourage the energy of the dog barking and feels that a dog has the freedom to bark, that it should not be artificial.
In the beginning of the poem the narrator refers to the place as ‘this desert’ however in the concluding couplet he says, ‘this city’. This is a contrasting imagery and the desert has transformed into a city throughout the poem. The narrator says that in a city where everything wistfully dies or rots, the slightest excitement of love is a gift.
‘Naked Thoughts’ is given as the title to portray the poem as a record of thoughts that are open as readers interact with it. The use of negative words suggests the sad tone in the poem. The poem is a search for expression and by nature the poem itself is form of expression whereby his thoughts are laid open and awaits each reader to unravel them. The poet’s ‘love’ and ‘loneliness’ are common themes found through imageries in the poem and is interprets the suffering and agony of the poet.
The poem ‘Naked Thoughts’ is an allegorical poem that presents the captive minds of the Kashmiri people whose identity is denied.
So, this is the end. This was quite a tough poem to understand. If you have anything to add or any opinions, do let me know in the comments section.