Nostalgia is a universal theme for all world poets. Through my essay I attempt to explore three poems about nostalgia by three different poets. Theses three poems are “Half Past Two” by U. A. Fanthorpe, “An Unknown Girl” by Moniza Alvi and “Piano” by D. H. Lawrence. The first poem of my choice is “An Unknown Girl” by Moniza Alvi. This poem is about a strange encounter the poet has had with “an unknown girl” in India. This encounter left a strange strong impact on Moniza Alvi to the extent that she was always nostalgic for India.
She felt that her experience there was a queer and illuminating kind of experience which became carved in her memory forever giving her the atmosphere and smell of the strange intriguing land. The setting of the poem is a bazaar in India. It is in a huge area filled with lights and noises. The place itself is crowded and “studded with neon”. The poet has “an unknown girl” hennaing her hand. In “hennaing my hand” we have an alliteration adding nostalgic music to the poem as the poet yearned for the unique experience.
The poet is sensuous engaging our sense of sight with her vivid descriptions and graphic details of the “bazaar”. She also engages our sense of hearing with her alliterations. She also engages our sense of touch as in “a wet brown line” and description of the girl’s “satin-peach knee”. The whole procedure of “hennaing” is described with vivid details. We are informed about how the girl was working and squeezing the line from “a nozzle”, icing her hand.
In the expression “which she steadies with hers on her satin peach knee” we have an alliteration adding soft but strange music to the poem. In “satin” we have a sense of touch. Whereas the word “peach” add a splash of colour to the colorful picture. The poet is nostalgic for her experience, so she uses effective repetition of the same words to aggravate our joining her experience as, for example, repeating the expression “in the evening bazaar”. The poet gives us her vivid description of the whole situation in a charming way.
We are there with her feeling “a little air “adding coolness to the picture. We watch the poet in her “kameez “and we see the peacock drawing spreading on her palm. The poet was nostalgic for the whole situation and for the relaxing and dreamy picture as we watch “colours leave the street float up in balloons” Even the “dummies in shop – fronts” are personified into individuals watching the whole intriguing scene. As the dummies are described “with their western perms” we have an alliteration adding eerie music to the poem.