Nissim Ezekiel is a 20th Century Indian writer writing in English. He is famously known as the ‘Father of Modern Indian English Poetry’. All his poems are based on different themes. The poem ‘Enterprise’ shows his intellectual quest to understand the journey to find God by taking a journey to a Pilgrimage. Allegorical in theme and Epigrammatic in its message Nissim comes to realize at last that: ‘Home is where we have to gather grace’.
It started as a pilgrimage
Exalting minds and making all
The burdens light, The second stage
Explored but did not test the call.
The sun beat down to match our rage.
We stood it very well, I thought,
Observed and put down copious notes
On things, the peasants sold and bought
The way of serpents and of goats.
Three cities where a sage had taught 10
But when the differences arose
On how to cross a desert patch,
We lost a friend whose stylish prose
Was quite the best of all our batch.
A shadow falls on us and grows.
Another phase was reached when we
Were twice attacked, and lost our way.
A section claimed its liberty
To leave the group. I tried to pray.
Our leader said he smelt the sea
We noticed nothing as we went,
A straggling crowd of little hope,
Ignoring what the thunder meant,
Deprived of common needs like soap.
Some were broken, some merely bent.
When, finally, we reached the place,
We hardly know why we were there.
The trip had darkened every face,
Our deeds were neither great nor rare.
Home is where we have to gather grace.