The crowd dispersed.
An aged blacksmith
approached the wooden cross
(from which solar-pure blood trickled
and in the eyes of the crucified
lunar loveliness shimmered).
mortified, he exclaimed:
the nails I forged to build homes
O hammered here on this frame!
ને આ વૃદ્ધ જેની કાય
તે લોહાર આવી કાષ્ઠના એ ક્રૂસ પાસે
(જે થકી નીતરી રહ્યું રે રક્ત એવું - શુદ્ધ જાણે સૂર્યનું
ને લોચને વિલસે વળી તો ચંદ્રનું માધુર્ય શું !)
જઈ જુએ શું એકશ્વાસે :
મેં મકાનો બાંધવાને જે ઘડ્યા
રે તે ખીલા તો અહીં જડ્યા !
Seldom do Gujarati poets use the symbols of Western faiths. In this poem the poet has used crucifixion of Jesus to convey the horror of deicide, the killing of the divine. The climax comes in the last two lines, and the contrast of creation with destruction is used to enhance the horror.
Priyakant Maniyar, school drop-out (1927 – 1976) hailed from the town of Amreli in Saurashtra, but was born in Viramgam, also in Saurashtra. In Ahmedabad, he ran a shop selling ivory bangles. Tragically, he died of a heart attack while shuttering his shop. Priyakant was an exceptional symbolist and imagist poet – his first volume of verse was titled ‘Prateek’ (Symbol). He authored seven volumes of poems; two were published post-humous. He was awarded the Kumar Gold Medal and the Umashankar-Sneharashmi Award. He also received an award of the Delhi Sahitya Akademi. Priyakant also wrote numerous songs. His fecundity was astonishing. He stayed with the translator for several days in Canada, and during one sleepless night produced some ten poems! The translator still remembers his high-pitched, passionate voice, his zest for life, and his sense of wonder.