The poem’s title suggests that the subject matter of the poem will be about a negative experience and about suffering, however, the poem up until its final lines is ostensibly a celebration of pastoral life. Tagore demonstrates the differences between nature and human civilization, whereby the east is portrayed as a civilization more in harmony with nature while the West is figured to be more in touch with the negative effects of civilization.
The speaker opens the poem describing the beautiful scenery in the Indian countryside as the sun is setting. The imagery used in the first lines serves to evoke a richly sensuous atmosphere and a mellow and reflective mood. The description of the “sinking” sun resonates with the description of the “late” afternoon glow evoking a sense of night falling and the day coming to a close. The description of the “glow” conveys the soft dying light of the sun as it sets. The speaker says that the sun “extends” its light suggesting a relaxed slow movement of stretching out. The sense of this verb connects with the verb in the next line which describes how the wind has “dozed” away. This use of personification implies that forces of nature seem to be winding down and resting at the end of the day.
The first two lines are short end-stopped declarative sentences and help to establish a slow meditative pace. As the poem continues the poet makes increasing use of enjambment resulting in longer undulating, meandering lines, the effect of which is reinforced and emphasized by the variation of the long and short line lengths and the use of indentations throughout the poem. The lineation and punctuation thus both contribute to the relaxed and peaceful mood of the poem.
Throughout the poem Tagore employs simple diction that describes the natural and pastoral imagery of the landscape. On the third line the speaker describes an ox cart heading to market at the end of the day. This visual imagery emphasizes the simplicity of life in an undeveloped country as it describes basic and primitive means of transportation which is so slow that it moves at a “crawl”. The fact that the cart is “laden with paddy-straw” shows how undeveloped the economic situation is in rural India. Although its destination is far off the description is not necessarily negative because no suffering is described and it is portrayed as simply as another part of the natural landscape. The speaker begins the sixth line by describing a boy who has been working all day fishing, however just like the image before there is no sense of weariness or suffering implied, in fact it seems as though the boy fishing is relaxed, leisurely and peaceful and blends into the landscape. The poets use of place names and people’s names helps creates a sense of intimacy, familiarity and community.
The speaker represents the human world and the natural world coexisting in natural harmony. For example the second stanza opens with an image of “newly cut sugar-cane” next to “trees washed by rain”, which presents a sign of human labour and agriculture next to an image of fertile nature. The descriptions used in the second stanza (“newly cut”, “fresh air”, “washed” and “wet grass”) have strong associations with water and connote fertility and growth.
In and amongst this landscape the speaker describes two friends walking and talking about family news. The image of these two friends interacting makes seem like an idyllic picture of harmony. The fact that they talk about marriage is emphasized by the “bloom” of the bhati flowers which gives a sense of the fertility of nature, just like a marriage, but also connotes the poets sense of familiarity with rural India. The sense of the fertility of nature is further emphasized by the “balm of Caitra”, the “jarul trees” and the “Koel bird”. The sensuous imagery, evocative visual images and auditory imagery and olfactory imagery helps create sense of the fertility and the richness of nature in the rural Indian countryside and the sensuous imagery also helps to set a very typical marriage like atmosphere because of the joy that marriage brings. The use of the simple diction shows the simplicity of life for rural communities in India, throughout the poem the language is sensuous, vivid and evocative but almost uniformly literal than figurative. The use of simple literal language makes the poem seem unselfconscious, casual and natural. This emphasizes the speakers feelings of empathy and harmony with nature. The use of this simple diction contrasts with the use of Indian dialect words helps to create a sense of local Indian authenticity.
However notice how all this positive and tranquil atmosphere is destroyed by the last stanza where the atmosphere changes immediately to negative as the telegram arrives. The poet uses an abrupt ending because he wants to give no more details of the western world since for the past two stanzas he has been in touch with nature and he doesn’t want to leave that world of harmony with nature into the western world of brutality and destruction. Look at how the poet has used the diction of “pounded” to give a very bleak and despairing tone to the poem, this is starkly contrasted in the previous two stanzas where everything seems to be winding down and everyone seems to be in harmony with nature, however Tagore by using the last stanza emphasizes how the western world is always at war with each other and trying to gain dominance, the poet also questions whether the western world can ever be in harmony between themselves and nature if they are constantly developing their countries and at war.
In conclusion Tagore’s poem “Injury” connotes how the Indian countryside is a place full of harmony and tranquility. He further emphasizes the tranquil and harmonious atmosphere by showing the community and their appreciation of nature. This leads to the point that Tagore thinks that the eastern world in more in touch with each other and their surroundings, while the western world is portrayed as a place where all that people think about is death and violence and any other means necessary in order to make sure that their country can dominate the western world.
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