In The Name Of Poetry

A friend of a Tree -Helge Torvund

As we are presenting Helge Torvund’s long poem in the section- Editor’s choice, I thought of giving his love and affection for the nature. I meet him in 2009, and the given incident gives an idea , how a poet could be sensitive towards every element of the universe.  



Presented by  Rati Saxena

“Let me introduce my best friend,” he told us. We were already there in his big sitting room; can I use the term room? This was the shore of a big beach near the Roaring Sea in Rogaland. We had come to meet Helge Torvund, and he took us to the place where he sits, reads and writes. This was a cluster of rocks. We sat there, and read poems while he talked about his efforts to save this area. Because of his initiative this entire area is called protected area, where no one can even pluck a blade of grass.

Odvieg, a Norwegian poet and filmmaker who took us to meet him, had already told us about his work as a critic, a psychologist and a poet whose poetry is mostly related to the landscape of Rogaland. She also mentioned that he is one of the most important poets of Rogaland (Norway).

I was a little surprised to know that Norwegian writers still liked to write about nature, whereas in our own country it is considered old fashioned or anti modern. There is no doubt that Norway is the most beautiful country; if we talk about nature here, though it can be cruel at times, is remarkable for its lovely landscape. Before meeting Hegle, I had the impression that the poets of this area must be still impressed by nature and were thus writing mostly about nature.

I am sure that our Indian critics and progressive poets will not like this idea–they would call it Romanticism. The dirt and poverty is becoming so powerful that we just ignore the beautiful aspects of our earth. Slum dog has now become a world-famous problem, by showing slum dog worldwide, we say Jay ho – (poverty!) Jay ho – (dirt!); we do not want to talk about recession as this problem is related to wealth.

Now the question is whether what Helge is writing about or what he is doing can be classified under modernism or not. While talking to him I could understand his vision. Not only him, but also most of the other Norwegian writers and thinkers worry about the destruction of nature. The extreme climate, the truism, and ice games are pushing Norway towards global warming and as a result the glaciers are melting fast and trees are falling down. A common man of this country cannot survive without trees, without rivers and without grass fields. So we can say that the protection of nature is a very important issue for them.

Does it mean that this problem is restricted to a certain area, or place? Isn’t it a global problem?

Does it mean that nature as well as the effort to save nature and the importance of being friendly to it must necessarily be a part of the discourses of modernity in literatures?

Nurturing nature does not mean neglecting other human problems. It is in fact the solution to the problem. Is it not true that most of the farmers are forced to become labourers and make more and more slums? Or, isn’t it the inability to use nature in the proper way the main reason behind the increasing suicides among farmers?

I just want to quote Helge’s poem-

I come back down the green hill

I’m happy as a loaf of fresh bread

I hold my arms out a little from my body

because I want to hug this shining day

In this instant in time I exist

and the trail caresses the soles of my feet

Nothing to do here but walk

Nothing to say here at all

A whole day’s body full of light

In step with it under the sky by the river

Friends! This is the time, when we must start focusing our thoughts on what is right or beneficial for the entire humanity, in other words, for the entire Universe.

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