Contemporary Poets in Indian English-2
Nissim Ezekiel in his poem “Night of the Scorpion” portrays a typical Indian scene highlighting the way of life in India. A scorpion stings a woman on a rainy day and escapes. Neighbors gather around her. They believe that the movement of the scorpion outside will make the poison move in the body of the woman. They think that her present suffering is because of her evil deeds in the past or this suffering may reduce the effect of her future misdeeds. The life before death and the life after death is in accordance with the Hindu belief that soul takes multiple births. It is believed that there is a continuum of life and the result of our deeds (Praarabdha). So they sit with ‘peace of understanding’ on their faces. The so called rationalist husband tries every irrational way to mitigate the suffering of his wife including pouring paraffin on the bitten toe and lighting it indicating rationalism is not really a part of his mindset. When the pain subsides mother thanks God that the scorpion did not sting her children. This anti-climax changes the way the poem has to be looked at.
Also read: A. K. Ramanujan