A little argument and then they hurt;
These liberals are so coy and sensitive.
They think they know all forms of decent art,
And claim consensus gives prerogative.

Their poetry requires subjective style
That craves an “I,” a “me,” a “my” or “mine.”
Their views constrained to left side of the aisle
Require revolts of socialist design.

But oft their verse has splendid imagery,
Of camels flying high in azure sky,
Birds singing sweetly in a poetry…
As vapid as a tear a clown might cry.

For now, in colleges they reign supreme
All unaware here ends their Age’s dream.



Sarban Bhattacharya is a 22-year-old poet and classicist currently pursuing a master’s degree in English literature.

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21 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    I was only a couple of years older than you when I went to New York and became involved with a group known as the Tenth Street painters. All styles were involved; it seemed to be a vigorous art community. Eventually, their ambitions to succeed overwhelmed their interest in art – groups formed within groups, and that was the beginning of the end. No one any longer had a genuine interest in art; it was all about “making it”.
    And they did, but not on any artistic terms. In order not to become one of them it was necessary for me to leave; I did, going on to achieve some success as a painter and later as a poet.
    Please don’t ever give up – your fine poem shows me you have already seen this in your own venue.
    I am hoping to see more of your work.
    Sincerely —

  2. Sarban Bhattacharya

    Thank you Sally for sharing your experience. You are indeed a good poet, and we would like to see some of your paintings too in which you take interest. It is always beneficial for an artist to leave a group in which one does not fit in, as it was in your case too, and hopefully your decision brought out the best in you. I have seen similar predominance of propagandist art in my field, which provoked me to write this poem.

  3. Joe Tessitore

    I find this a very intriguing poem that calls for more than one reading.

    Well done, Sarban.

    • Sarban Bhattacharya

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I appreciate it!

    • Sarban Bhattacharya

      Splendid work of art, seasoned with accompanying poetry. I loved it , Sally!

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    It’s never good for artists of any kind (poets, painters, musicians, or the like) to be involved in a group. You can have friends and acquaintances, of course. You can have private correspondence and social connections with individuals in your field. But group-consciousness leads to envy, in-fighting, and thought-control.

    In the late 19th century, Emile Zola visited the novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans and criticized him for writing the brilliant novel “A Rebours,” complaining that the book deviated from the orthodoxy of socially conscious realism that Zola and his acolytes were pushing. This kind of arrogant thought-control is typical of “groups.”

    • Sarban Bhattacharya

      Dr. Salemi, this is what exactly I was thinking while writing those fourteen lines. The incident you mentioned further elucidates the matter. Persuasion, thought-control and rhetoric can befuddle the author if he is carried away by his peer’s opinion.

      • Sally Cook

        Sarban –
        I am so happy to know we are on similar paths. Like Dr. Salemi, I am not a proponent of groups. I find most of them cause nothing but trouble; especially among creative people. Thanks so much for taking the time to look at my paintings, which would have not existed had I not left that tight little Tenth Street group.

      • Sally Cook

        Dear Joe –
        I am so glad that you showed up to join the conversation. Sarban is very talented, and thoughtful, too, is he not?

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Sarban, it is heartening for me to hear that one so young is following the path of the “rhyming, the rhythmic, and rapturous”, and you have stated it very well using all the literary tools this site applauds. Thank you. I firmly believe many poets are looking in this direction once again and that this site is the place to be.

    I am also very interested to hear Dr. Salemi’s views on Emile Zola. I believe the educational take I received on “Germinal” may have led me up a garden path I should not have trodden… to me Zola had something profound to say… and that something was, each end of the political spectrum leads to the same dire downfall… the exploitation of the masses… so any “group” one submits to, might not be the means to good ends… when it comes to artistry, one should always follow their individual path. I need to study Zola with a keener eye.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Zola was a dyed-in-the-wool naturalist and positivist liberal writer, and he wanted everyone in his literary group to follow his lead in producing a kind of journalistic and dossier-based hard-boiled “social fiction.” When Huysmans wrote the magnificent “A Rebours,” a work of dazzling decadence, artificiality, erudite diction, and the private delights of a wealthy man, Zola was enraged.

      It’s typical of liberals to talk glibly about “freedom,” but to be offended when individual persons actually practice it.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Thank you, Joe. I always appreciate your knowledge and wisdom in this age of illusion and confusion. I am absolutely gutted that the bumbling blonde traitor – Boris Johnson (UK’s “Conservative” prime minister) is a “Conservative” in name only – a name he has used to fool the people. I saw “Germinal” as anti-authoritarianism, wherever that poisonous trait may come from… the elites or the hoi polloi.

        I firmly believe this day and age’s problems are a struggle between good and evil… the evil being the ones wanting to shackle and erase all those who don’t agree with the current political ideologies, and that includes those on the left and the “right”… it seems that in the upper echelons of politics, conservatism is conservatism in name only.

    • Sarban Bhattacharya

      Mrs. Bryant, thank you very much for your review . It’s satisfying for me to know you’ve enjoyed the rhyme and meter I employed in this poem.

  6. Margaret Coats

    As Joe Tessitore says, this poem calls for more than one reading. There is a great deal to be said about meaning in its varied parts. But just to start off, I’ll focus on the second stanza, where Sarban correctly points out the requirement of a subjective style–for artists who devote themselves to thinking and speaking as a group! This shows some process of willing self-deception, at least in early stages of joining the group. One cannot truly express personal feelings supposedly so vital to the liberal mindset, if these feelings must be the same as any other artist would have–or at least would publish. And that leads directly to the magnificent last line, where the self-deception is complete, and an individual work art becomes impossible: “All unaware here ends their Age’s dream.” Profound thought well worded, Sarban!

  7. Sarban Bhattacharya

    Thank you very much, Margaret, for your elaborate review. The idea of self-deception which you mentioned was in my mind– a vital aspect of liberal arts. It reminds me of the Chaucerian ideal man, the poor parson: ” ..First he wrought and afterward he taught”.

    • Margaret Coats

      I too admire Chaucer’s Parson. When it was his turn to talk, he used very strong language, calling sin “foul, cursed, and stinking.” Now there’s a priest who was a real man!

  8. Cynthia Erlandson

    I think this is a great psychoanalysis of the left, Sarban!


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