Noyingbeni Yanthan/ Juxtaposition of Fair and Foul in Love Song of a Journeyman by Vihang A. Naik

S. Noyingbeni Yanthan

M.Phil. English

Lovely Professional University


The Phrase Fair and Foul infuses in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Fair can be related to somewhat which is pleasing in appearance, that of a pure or fresh quality. On the other hand Foul can be associated with wicked or immoral. The poem, Love Song of a Journeyman by Vihang A. Naik presents the experience of disloyalty of love and the passing of joy. Vihang A. Naik conveys that appearance can be deceiving and things can be way different from what they look. The comparison between Fair and Foul points towards the poem concerning with the inconsistency between appearance and reality. Though it is complex and challenging idea nevertheless the poem suggests that the world can never be sure whether it is illusion, a vision or an image that means to say a place where one would not be able to trust anyone. The present paper will explore on the comparison between fair and foul by analyzing how life itself can be deceptive in one’s life.

Keywords: Artificiality, reality, deception, fair and foul.

Beauty is a thing that lies in the eyes of the beholder. Different people find different sights as pleasing or beautiful but on the other hand the beauty of the same object may be evaluated differently by different person. In relation with Fair and Foul, fair is assessed as beautiful by some people but different people consider it as ugly while on the other hand some consider foul to be ugly or horrible but others as beautiful. The phrase is a paradox and likewise it is seen in the opening scene of the play Macbeth where for the witches it simply means that whatever is fair to a common man is foul to them and whatever is foul to a common man is fair to them. The present paper is an attempt to explore the same in Vihang A. Naik’s poem Love Song of a Journeyman.

Vihang A. Naik, a contemporary Indian poet, writing in English was born in Gujarat on Sept. 2, 1969. He is notable for his distinguishing style and poetic quality. Naik is a great poet and is widely known for his collection of poetry including City Times and Other Poems (1993), Poetry Manifesto: New & Selected Poems (2010) and Jeevangeet (Gujarati Poems published in 2001) and Making A Poem (2004). Likewise, he is also known for translating poetry written in Gujarati language into English at the same time. The muse of his writing visited Naik in his tees. In his words:

It was during my teens that Muse caught me. Though it is difficult to locate the origin or time. If I recollect… it was somewhere around my ninth grade that I wrote my first lines, to my utter surprise it was my first verse. I don’t know what it was that made me write then but I found it poured something out of me. Made me relive myself info some something new. Some urge made me create. (Interview with Dr Sanjay Prasad Pandey)

The collections of his poems are fascinating, natural, and a mirror to his experiences. All the poems in his brilliant collection are interesting, deep and expressively stable. In the poem, Love song of a Journeyman, Naik presents the recollections of a romantic young person labeling a journey from innocence to distrustful acceptance of the unfaithful nature of love and humanity and therein the fleeting of joy.

Everyone is on a journey, some afar whereas some astray. Vihang A. Naik expresses his solitude in the poem Love song of a journeyman and he advances his thought from the essence of love to the crumbling artificiality of modern man. The rise of mankind in this modern world has escalated to the other side of a coin; there is no truth one can believe because people have become so addicted to free will. Materialism has become the key concept which can define the modern era. People have become more subjective rather than objective, Naik also says that people tend to ignore what others may think or feel and this is how one loses humanity. He portrays the truthful image-

The world

shrinks within

the boundaries

of flesh. (Naik 16)

Materialism has brought about a vivid broadcast in the plight of globalization. People are failing to treasure the beauty of life, aestheticism has lost its complete value and in a material blinded world, the future though unseen predicts no good for a man.

The poem takes a leap into the inward journey of a man and tries to explain how the outward life has captivated people, the false appearance and the deceptions have become the major tool of modern man and thus the true facade is unseen. Naik in Love song of a Journeyman   depicts the weaknesses and the defects of the society where he means to say that the people are becoming egoistic, self-regarding and so those human beings should look forward as the poet gives a clear reflection to the world through his poem

Time preaches mortality.

The day should give up

to the night as the dead

retires bodiless. ( Naik 18)

Fair is foul, and Foul is fair- this sentence contradict itself because of human perspective on life. The artificiality of human being is such that people have started to neglect the inner appearance and blindly follow the outer appearance. What fair is, it does not portray the literal meaning but it contradicts to it. In the age of globalization, the present generations are so engrossed in materialistic wants that the artificiality of human beings has captivated each and every individual to the extent that being natural does not have a place in the society. The poet interprets the life of human beings metaphorically through his beloved to whom he had an unsuccessful love.

Bhaskar, Bhaskaranand Jha in his review, Vihang A. Naik’s City Times and Other Poems has commented on the unique writings of the poet. He examines how the poem has brought about spontaneous reflections through the experiences of the poet. Bhaskar also describes how materialism has progress in the lives of the human beings in this age of globalization. He speculates how people or societies are quite unconcerned to the wonderful past of the town they are living in and that there is an absence of consciousness in them.

The poem Love song of a Journeyman brings about at the very beginning with the persuasive beauty of love ‘Your beholding downward look’. Like a journeyman, he hums about the love song throughout his journey being romantic at its finest with the experience of his first love-

I’d then begun

to hear wings

in empty spaces.

A song

in the desert

of my heart.

A first journey. ( Naik 14)

Fair and foul sets a tone for the atmosphere in the poem, a poem that is very deeply concerned with the deception and false appearance which cloud the reality, and the vagueness that are assumed by words and conveyed by the outer appearance.

Vihang A. Naik as a poet who has experienced a love of unsuccessful articulates to the readers the inadequacies of the society that people are becoming self-centered and selfish. He gives irreplaceable instructions to the people to be courageous and retain dignity in all situations no matter what and not to be deceived by the beauty but to recognize the true instances of Fair and Foul “Look ahead the journey is short.”( Naik 17)

Works Cited

Bhaskar, Bhaskaranand Jha. “Vihang A. Naik’s City Times and Other Poems.” Asian Signature. 2.2. July (2015). Print

Naik, Vihang A. Poetry Manifesto (New and Selected Poems). New Delhi: Indialog Publications Pvt. Ltd, 2010. Print

Pandey, Dr Sanjay Prasad. “Book Talk: Vihang A. Naik on City Times and Other Poems”. The Achievers Journal1.1.(2015): n.pag. English.12,December,2015.Web.

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