Summary and Critical Appreciation of the poem “A River” by A.K.Ramanujan

In the poem, A River the poet A.K.Ramanujan makes a rich evocation of the city of| temples river Vaiki in Madura, the city of temples and poets. It glides through Madura which has been the hub of Tamil culture for three thousand years. The river dries in every summer in the sand baring the sand-ribs, straw and women’s hair. At the rusty bars under the bridges with patches of repair all over them shines the wet stones like sleepy crocodiles. But none sings of the dried and enacted river.

The learned poet only makes a poem of praise for the floods. The dry river is contrasted with the river in a state which bears away three village houses, one pregnant woman and two cows, Gopi and Brinda. Ramanujan has a solicitude and he ridicules in a thin veneer of irony the poet’s living in the ivory town of imagination totally detached from a hard life and stern reality.

Imagery is the remarkable landmark of ‘A River’. This poem has a germ of spiritual harshness and callousness to human sufferings and agony.

The irony of this pithy poem is deep and sharp and it does not hurt our feelings. The acute sensibility of the poem form of western culture and western enlightenment has permeated the Indian sense of beauty and sensibility profusely.

The celebrated river Vaiki in Madura has assumed a distinguished role in the poem. It has enhanced the luster and glows to carry a new mien and amplitude with an aura majesty and magnificence.
A. K. Ramanujan, an artist of note has a great social and historical sense. With his mighty pen, he pens beautifully the pitiful condition of our social life.

This poetry is remarkable for visual imagery.

Straw and women’s hair
clogging the water gates.”

The poet compares wet only the dryness of the river but also the emotional attitude which tells us the suffering of human beings.