Commentry on Ishapen Carpet

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A commentary on an untitled piece by Elizabeth Burge                         Vibhuti Vazirani          

This untitled piece of literature certainly has a most unusual structure, which to my mind is quite unique. It is the first time I have discovered that a poem that looks like a list of important points! 21 points to be precise! As I began to read it, I was quite surprised to find that its more than a list of points .  I would think that it could be described as and to an elegy as it delves into the deeper aspects of, child labour. In the poem, the poetess, Elizabeth Burge, describes the visit of a tourist, possibly herself, to a Persian carpet-weaving workshop. In the poem,    she uses “conciseness”  and sentences to makes a convincing case against child labor, alluding it to be a death sentence.

The poetess Elizabeth Burge has uses short simple statements, numbered sequentially  to launch an attack on the sleeping consciousness of the reader. Devoid though it is of euphemisms’, to the point of being blunt, she instead uses imagery to   graphically describe the morbid and inhumane conditions of the children, in such an effective manner as, so as to shock the sensibilities of  the most complacent readers .  In my personal opinion, to put it as crisply as Elizabeth Burge herself,  her poem more than makes the  point !

The poetess   conveys her strong feelings against the employment of minor children in the Persian carpet manufacturing industry. Using words that conjure up stark images, she stirs a range of emotional reactions, in the reader. With amazingly few words, she paints the tragic lives of the children, and plucks the heartstrings of the reader, as she portrays the sadness and hopelessness of their innocent lives, and causes us to feel deep anger and disgust at these young lives being wasted away. Each point on the list is itself very precise, accurate, and simply worded. In the portion of the poem reproduced below , the enjambment in  line 23 continues into line 24,  and pauses in line 25, and the new sentence beginning in 25 pauses in line 27  helps the words penetrates the readers psyche, like an arrow.  

These verbal arrows explode in the readers mind and create a visual pictures of, the gross injustice to helpless children, who are robbed not only of their  childhood, but of healthy lives, by long hours of confinement in dark dingy workshops, shackled by poverty of their families and abandoned ,perform long hours of extremely difficult work  that sicken and weaken their bodies and  restrict their growth. This picture causes a well of emotions such as shock and disgust to rise in the hearts of the reader.

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             “Shadowing the makers of the webs.

  Eight-year-old girls sit spar rowed on a plank

  Rope-rising with the pattern, their unsupported bird-bones

  Bent like old women. Only such little fingers,

  Following the guides of colored wool upon the warp

              Left by their aunts and sisters,

  Can tie such exquisitely minute knots –

              One hundred to the square centimeter, says the guide proudly-”

 Her reference to   “gallows, silent, sallow”  and ...

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