The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features


The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-- Chief Features

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

Toru Dutt (1856-1877) was the first distinguished Indian English poetess (female poet). Her advent in the sky of Indo-Anglian poetry was like a meteor. She appeared with all the brightness and glory of a versifier but was cut off suddenly by premature death. During her short span of life, she wrote only two books of poetry- ‘A Sheaf Gleaned in French Field’ which is an anthology of French lyrics translated from original French into English. It contains one hundred and sixty lyrics all by seventy different poets. The second book of poetry by her is ‘Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan’ which is her original creation in English. As a poetess, she is a romantic one. Like Keats,  she combines beauty and like Wordsworth, she inputs reflectiveness in her poetry. Her poetry is full of Indianness. Besides being a romantic poetess, she is a successful poetess of Indian legends and mythology also. Her style of poetry is a combination both of Wordsworth and Keats though she could hardly achieve their proficiency. 

To begin the explanation, we can consider her poem entitled ‘The Lotus’ which is a typical nature poem. In it, she seeks beauty in nature, especially in lotus as a kind of flower. To the poetess, the lotus is superior to the rose and lily; because it bears the redness of the rose and whiteness of the lily. The poetess says:

”…flora gave the lotus, ‘rose red’ dyed

And ‘lily white’ the queenliest flower that blows.”

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

‘Our Casuarina Tree’ is another nature poem. As a nature poem, it is grand as Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey; because like Wordsworth, she, in this poem, combines a description of nature, especially of Casuarina tree with her reflection to childhood life. The description of nature in this poem is vivid and sensuous, as-

”The giant wears the scarf and flowers are hung

In crimson clusters all the boughs among

Whereon all day are gathered bird and bee;

And oft at nights the garden overflows

With one sweet song that seems to have no close

Sung darkling from our tree, while men repose.”

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

In the third stanza of the poem, she recalls her childhood days which were full of joys and pleasures under the tree. Here the tree stands as a token of memory. She says:

”But not because of its magnificence

Dear is the Casuarina to my soul:

Beneath it we have played, though year may roll

O sweet companions, loved with love intense, 

For your sake shall the tree be ever dear!

Blent with your images…… .” 

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

The second theme of her poetry is pertaining to Indian legend and myths. In the poems with these themes, she revives the glory of ancient India. The poem entitled ‘Lakshman’ is such a poem. The matter of the poem is taken from ‘The Ramayana’. In it, the poetess shows the social condition of ancient India and along with it, she shows Sita’s love and devotion to her husband, Ram.

Though she died at an early age like Keats, yet she could achieve a glorious maturity in poetic style. Her poems are full of sensuous imageries, as:

”Like a huge python, winding round and round 

The rugged trunk indented deep with scars

Up to its very summit near the stars,

A creeper climbs in whose embraces bound

No other tree could live.”

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

The imagery of heroism is also present in her poems which are fascinating to the heart, as:

”The lion and the grisly bear

Cower when they see his royal look,

Sun-staring eagles of the air

His glance of anger cannot brook

Python and cobras at his tread 

To their most secret coverts glide

Bowed to the dust each serpent head

Erect before in hooded pride.”

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features

The language of her poetry is neither easy nor difficult. Wordsworth’s simplicity and Keats’ difficulty are equally present in her poems. 

No poetess could achieve proficiency and maturity like hers within such a brief span of life. In this respect, she may be called the Keats of Indo- Anglian Poetry though in the use of poetic imagery she is not as grand as Keats. But as a young poetess, she is a wonder in the whole range of Indian English poets. 0 0 0

The Poetry of Toru Dutt-Chief Features


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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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