Tobi Ete/ Love, Lust and Lure: A Study of Vihang A. Naik’s Love Song of a Journeyman

Tobi Ete

M.Phil. (English), LPU.


Vihang A. Naik is one of the Indian contemporary writer, a poet, a critic and a translator of Gujarati language to an English language writings. City Times and Other Poems is one of the notable works of Naik in which Love Song of a Journeyman will be the focus of this study. Love song of a journeyman interprets different aspects of unrequited love of a journeyman. It delineates the unsuccessful love of a journeyman who is betrayed by his lover. It also raises a question whether Love and Lust can be compared together in terms of a truthful love. A true love never fades but in Love Song of a Journeyman the lover of the journeyman seems more lustful than to love her beloved. If the love is true then there is no way of betrayal but if it is only lust then no love will exist between two lovers. Lust is important in order to love someone but to love for a lust can never be a love. In this poem, the lover chooses the life of city than to be with the journeyman and his dreams are shattered and broken. The betrayed and ignored journeyman laments the agony of a long journey of his broken love life whose lover did never turn back to him and for the rest of his life he is living in the memory of his beloved. The present study is an attempt to understand and explore the importance of Lust in Love. It will also examine why Lust is the basis of Love.

Keywords: love and lust, unrequited love, betrayal, broken dreams, journey of love

Vihang A. Naik’s Love Song of a Journeyman was published in 1993 in his poetry collections “City Times and Other Poems”. In this poem, Vihang A. Naik presents the conflicting image of the nature of love, lust and lure. Most of Naik’s poems are enriched with the use of various natural and metaphysical metaphors and symbols. The poem Love Song of a Journeyman is a reflection of the poet’s own innermost feelings and experience of his life. Most of his poems are based on his experiences. This poem describes the different aspects of love and its importance. It shows the way Lust becomes an important component of Love and thus, Love here becomes a broken desire of the journeyman. For every lover love comes first and lust comes later but in this poem the beloved of the man did not love him truly and she betrayed him, leaving him all alone and she has “revealed the edge of a dream” of her lover (Naik, stanza ii ).

Love, Lust and Lure are three essential part of human being without which the life becomes incomplete and difficult to survive in this universe. These are the three major feeling systems that muddle human life. For human, Lure is the first thing that is important in order to love a person. A true love is based on Lure because without the knowledge of a person one cannot possess a true love. Love is something that creates affection towards each other and Lust is a desire that can even possess without any love and lure. Love lasts forever but Lure fades away with the changes of time. Love and Lure seems to be universal emotions, motivation and behavior. Lovers become emotionally dependent on the relationship. They reorder their daily priorities to remain in contact with their sweetheart, and experience separation and anxiety when apart. And most feel powerful compassion for their affair; many would even be ready to die for their beloved.

According to Princess Braxton–Davis in her article The Social Psychology of Love and Attraction published in Mc Nair Scholars Journal “a relationship developed most often when the participant had experienced love. In other words, individuals are in the process of falling in love over the course of dating or spending a lot of time with each other before entering into a relationship”. In order to acquire a true love with someone it is necessary to have an attraction which can be physical or mental. It is said that ‘Love is Blind’, if it is blind then what makes it blind? Or what will be the consequences of blind love?

In Indian societies, people are most concerned with their class reputation and dignity in the society. So the concept of love is blind is not acceptable in the Indian society most of the times. Even if the love is blind, sometimes it does not success due to culturally unacceptable in the societies. The consequences sometimes become the cruelest ‘suicide’. The lovers then commit suicide if their love relationship is not accepted by their parents and the family members. In this scenario, and also those who are blind in love have to go through many problems and difficulties because in this, the lover doesn’t get supports from the family members or relatives.

In blind love people go mad and do not have a fear of anything. They just live in the present and do not think of future and the consequences. So here, it can be said that both lust and love are important. Lust makes a relationship strong which makes the love unbreakable. If there is no lust in love it cannot be a true love because every relationship requires lust. People get married when there is true love as well as lust for each other. Every successful relationship is tied up due to Love and Lust because Lure does not play a vital role afterwards. It is only in the beginning of the love process the Lure becomes an important feeling that brings a love between two people.

The poem Love Song of a Journeyman is symbolical and metaphorical in nature. The poet in this poem does not directly refer a person. It is only through the metaphor “Dimpled shyness” that has been used in the lines give a glimpse of the referred person as a female lover of a journeyman. The poem is spoken by a male lover to his female beloved as an attempt to reconcile their love by praising her in this first stanza. This poem bears a resemblance with Andrew Marvell’s poem To His Coy Mistress because in both the poems the male lovers praise their beloved in order to acquire their love but the participation of the female lover is lacking in the actions. The lovers in these poems are mesmerized by their beloved’s physical charm.

In Love Song of a Journeyman the man lures his beloved in the first stanza; he compliments his beloved about her charming “Dimpled shyness, warmer breath” and her “Transparent eyes” (Naik, stanza-i) which does not hide anything from him. But as the poem continues, he slowly and gradually seems to be sad and broken because he is lamenting his loneliness. The sadness of the man is that he is being lonely and his heart is empty:

I’d then begun

to hear wings

in empty spaces.

A song

in the desert

of my heart.

                 A first journey. (Naik, stanza-i)

     The man expresses his emotions of being lonely in his life. Naik has evoked his inner feelings through the character of the journeyman. He says that he can hear a song of love in the ‘desert’ of his heart. Here the desert represents the emptiness of his heart. He feels empty and lonely because his lover is no more in his life. This shows the first lonely journey of his love life. His beloved has left him alone. He seems betrayed by his beloved in this situation. Love is something that can break someone’s heart into pieces. Any man who says he has been in a true love for an hour or a day is an insane; not because love “decays” in so short a time, but because, in an hour, love can “devour” ten men. (Donne, The Broken Heart, l-4)

The man talks about the promises they made to each other. He is lamenting about the shattered dreams and the promises they made, “Our fluttering yearned to fly afar” (Naik, stanza ii). In this poem the poet interprets the state of confusion in the mind of protagonist who is unable to convince his beloved. Love in this poem does not play a vital role between both the lovers. Here, the beloved is lacking interest towards her lover may be because of her personal experience. City Times and Other Poems mostly talks about the life in the city in which he feels that the “streets lead you nowhere” (Love Song of a Journeyman) and that his beloved has left him alone and chooses the life of the city.

Lust is something that can even occur if someone doesn’t fall in love. In this poem it is true that the beloved of the journeyman has left him and he is sad and depressed. The beloved chooses to be in city rather than to be with her beloved may be because she did not have a true feeling for the man. Maybe it was just the lust that makes her pretend to be in love. If she loved him truly, she would never have left him choosing the life of city. The journey man wants to persuade his beloved that rather than spoiling herself in the city, she should look forward for the betterment of future and be mature enough to take a right decision before it’s too late because the “journey is short” in lives.

The beloved is not interested with the man because she has now “become a touch, letters of words; a perfumed card in a changed city” (Naik, stanza v). She has destroyed her life in the changed city and that she is broken into different personalities. Her true identity is shattered into pieces. Earlier the man praised her charm that her eyes are transparent and that she is crystal clear, hides or pretend nothing towards him but in city she has become fake. Her personality and the feelings changed towards the man. The dreams that they had when they were together now seems to be fictitious. She had lust for the man but not love. True love and true people do not change within the changes of time but here, the beloved has changed herself to a different personality.

Towards the end, the man can see the “flower devoid of colour”, the degradation in the character of his beloved. Earlier she has been like a flower: innocent and beautiful but now the true colour of her character is fading in the city, loosing her innocent and inner beauty. Everything of the beloved seems too bogus that the man can smell the ink of her letters but the words in it are betraying (Naik, stanza vii). He is unable to understand the reason of his beloved’s changing personality. Love is something that cannot be changed but the journeyman’s beloved has completely changed in the city leaving the man’s dream unfulfilled and also shattering their promises of being together.

To conclude, the beloved of the journeyman shows her changed personality after moving in the city. Her real identity is shattered and corrupted. The title of the poem itself suggests the journey of the man’s life and his journey of love in loneliness. He is depressed and also unable to convince his beloved because she has completely become a different person. Her love for the man was not true but the man seemed to be fallen in love truly. Only true love can hurt and break someone. If someone asserts lust as more important than the love then that love will never succeed in future. No doubt, every love requires lust but if the lust is considered more important, it gives the glimpse of betrayal. The relationship in which lust is given more importance, certainly ends someday. So in order to maintain a good relationship and a true love, love should come first and lust later. In this way a bond between two persons will remain fair and succeed.

Works Cites

  • Braxton – Davis, Princess The social Psychology of Love and Attraction. Journals of McNair Volume 14, issue 1, (2010).
  • Donne, John. The Broken Heart, the poem.
  • Fisher, Helen E (January 01, 2000). Brains Do It: Lust, Attraction, and Attachment.
  • Marvell, Andrew: To His Coy Mistress, the poem.
  • Naik, Vihang A. Love Song of a Journey Man. City Times and Other Poems. Print 1993.




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