Summary of the poem “Enterprise” by Nissim Ezekiel
It started as a pilgrimage
Exalting minds and making all
The burdens light. The second stage
Explored but did not test the call.
The sun beat down to match our rage.
At the very beginning of the poem, the poet declares that, the ‘enterprise’ started as a pilgrimage (journeys to a holy place) for a group of people including the narrator. “Exalting minds” refer to the noble ideas and enthusiasm about their mission. Sure enough, that they could easily bear all the hardships that they faced. Inconveniences (‘burdens’) seemed insignificant (‘light’) to them.
The journey has been divided into stages. The second stage was somewhat different from the first one, since they faced the hostility of nature on the way. During this second stage, they confronted the adverse natural difficulties, symbolized as the blazing sun. The sun, symbolic of the hostility of nature, was radiating (‘beat down’) its scorching heat on them as if to match their spirit (‘rage’) in intensity. Thus, the second stage gave them some tough moments (‘explored’), but that was not enough to test their keenness (‘but did not test the call’). Their zeal and enthusiasm was still as hot as the blazing Sun above their heads.
(...to be continued)