For the past couple of days, I have been reading (randomly) from Nissim Ezekiel’s Collected Poems; one of them, identified as a minor classic by Keki N Daruwalla, called Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher goes thus:
To force the pace and never to be still
Is not the way of those who study birds
Or women. The best poets wait for words.
The hunt is not an exercise of will
But patient love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing;
This poem is what Scott’s post at Musical Perceptions reminded me of:
… reminding all of us that the defense is an opportunity for a well-informed group of people to sit and talk for 2 hours about a subject that they care about. This is what I want all my classes to be like, a conversation that helps everyone involved to learn more about subjects we love. Unfortunately enough of my students don’t like the subject, or haven’t prepared enough to contribute in a meaningful way, that I don’t often get that rush. I suppose that is the true joy of teaching graduate students. After all, I had many deep conversations with fellow students and with my professors when I was in graduate school. We had the time to study the one discipline that we cared about. We had the broader knowledge base from our undergraduate studies to apply to the conversation. And we all loved academia. I’m looking forward to this intense conversation about creative writing as an analytic response to music, learning at least as much as I teach during the process. That is why I do this.
May be we should add teachers also to the list of Lovers, Poets, and Birdwatchers!
PS: By the way, it is great fun reading Ezekiel; here is an excerpt from another of my favourite called Goodbye party for Miss Pushpa T.S.:
our dear sister
is departing for foreign
in two three days,
we are meeting today
to wish her bon voyage.
You are all knowing, friends,
what sweetness is in Miss Pushpa.
I don’t mean only external sweetness
but internal sweetness.
Miss Pushpa is smiling and smiling
even for no reason
but simply because she is feeling.