Jayanta Mahapatra’s Poem, Grass, Critical Analysis

“Grass”, a short poem consisting of six stanzas of three lines each, is symbolic interpretation of what “grass” means in the real sense. The poet moves slowly in a sorrowful mood. He is in great stress. He is utterly confused. Should he negotiate to and accept grief as his destiny? As he is moving throwing his head on his shoulders he hears a hymnal sound of reverberating in the atmosphere. He looks below at the grass which seems to be chanting a hymn in the glory of the Omnipresent. It eases and consoles him: 

“I watch a little hymn 
turning the ground beneath my feet, 
a tolerant soil making its own way in the light of the sun.”

Jayanta Mahapatra’s Poem, Grass, Critical Analysis
Jayanta Mahapatra’s Poem, Grass, Critical Analysis

This joyous spectacle unfolds before him “an ancestral smell of rot, reminding me of secrets of my own.” The accumulated evils coming down since times immemorial are suggested by the words “lurching into an ancestral smell of rot .....” This rot is so thick that it cannot be easily removed. It has even passed into the poet's personality and all the secrets of his life are soaked in this rot. This rotten state is the root cause of widespread stress, anxiety, frustration and loneliness. The degenerating and decaying condition of the world, devoid of human values, is described through vivid and highly suggestive imagery: 

“the cracked earth of years, the roots staggering about 
an impatient sensuality, bland heads heaving 
in the loneliness of unknown winds.” 

The poet is eager to change this condition in order to make life happier and better. It can be done by destroying the evils of the past. The grass and trees, symbolising old and decayed social order, must be uprooted. Let the fresh blades of grass germinate and new saplings sprout: 

“now I watch something out of the mind 
scythe the grass, know that the trees end, 
sensing the almost childlike submissiveness; 
my hands that tear their familiar torementors apart 
waiting for their curse, the scabs of my dark drab.” 

“Grass” is a search for meaning in the human condition, a celebration and revival of faith in life and existence. Creation depends on destruction. A new world order, promising joy and peace, freedom and fraternity can usher only when the present unjust and evil order is completely destroyed. 

Saurabh Gupta

My name is Saurabh Gupta. I have designed this blog to help those students and people who are greatly interested to get knowledge about English Literature. This blog provides precious knowledge and information about English Literature and Criticism.

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