Timeless Poetry That Inspires Me…#NationalPoetryMonth

 

Poetry that inspires and awakens

I had written an Ode To Poetry and had expressed a similar emotion in that poem. Some poems carry a profound message, which remains eternally relevant.

Some poems inspire us to rise against injustice while some just sooth our disillusioned minds.

Some highlight the highhandedness of those who have always tried to oppress others. They leave an everlasting impact on sensitive souls.

All the favorite excerpts that I have picked up in celebration of National Poetry Month have been linked to full poems in case you want to read and gather what I am trying to say.

Please don’t miss another striking feature of these poems. Just see how simple the language of these poems is and can be understood even by those who find poetry beyond their comprehension.

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

The above lines have always inspired me to maintain my uprightness in the midst of those who resort to mean tactics to belittle you for their own motives. I kept this poem under the glass of my table so that I could read it everyday.

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

While this poem highlights the injustice and brutality suffered by poor children in 18th and 19th centuries, what strikes me in the poem is the optimistic vision of the poet when he says:

And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free.
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the sun.

William Blake has also made an emotional comment on racism through his poem The Little Black Boy:

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;…
.….
And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love,
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

I marvel at the relevance of this poem even today when we grapple with discrimination all around us!

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers by Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer’s finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

What tugs at my heart is the message of subjugation that these lines convey in a very succinct manner. ‘Massive weight’ symbolises aunt Jennifer’s ordeals in an unhappy marriage.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

I often quote these lines not just because of their lyrical quality and aesthetic effect that they cast upon the reader but also because they actually transport me to those beautiful surroundings that the poet has captured in this poem and which gives him perpetual joy.

Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depths of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sands of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening
thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

‘The heaven of freedom’ that Tagore yearned for his countrymen has always been eluding us. Our minds are still haunted by ‘fears’ and ‘narrow domestic walls.’ The universal appeal of this poem is amazing and truthful.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – A highly acclaimed masterpiece of Robert Frost calls upon the reader to focus, to brush aside the distractions and temptations and move ahead.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

These are just a few memorable poems, which made a mark on my persona but there are many more like these in the annals of Literature, waiting to be explored.

To have great poets, there must be great audiences - Walt Whitman

Is there any poem, which has touched your heart in a special way? Please share it.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.
If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.
Balroop Singh.

 

How Reading Affects Our Personal Development #WorldBookDay

World Book Day - love for reading

World Book Day – a day that celebrates reading, a day that always inspires me to renew my love for books and share it, a day that reminds me how meaningless life would be without books!

Reading has not only given me pleasure, added brilliance to my gloomy hours but has also enriched my life in various ways.

It has made me wiser, healthier, resilient and emotionally balanced. It helps me converse with the greatest thinkers and dreamers.

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.” – Rene Descartes

Reading inspiring stories reassures me that inspiration could be found anywhere, even in the tears of detachment. Fictional characters too have the potential to enthuse new energy into us.

Redefines anguish:

Reading gives us the capacity to understand, to absorb and to figure out that anguish, loss, grief is a universal phenomenon. Getting stuck in our suffering can block our own growth.

When you equate your painful experiences with others, they seem trivial and you learn to deal with them. The connection becomes the healing factor.

Gives a fresh perspective:

Reading drags you out of your cocoon to watch the world with a fresh perspective, which develops when you are exposed to various views.

Pain, misfortune and emotional hurts are inevitable. It is futile to immerse ourselves in the setbacks of life because sooner or later we have to abandon this baggage to move ahead.

Takes us places:

Reading helps us escape the mundane events of life, it takes us to places, which we could have never visited; it defines our purpose of living; absorb the ideas that appeal to us and then analyze them.

The best moments of our life are created by reading; the best flights of imagination are crafted by the words of a writer who can create a scenario, which transports us into the realms of our choice and stay there frozen in time.

Realities of life come alive:

Stories of guilt, horror and forgiveness acquaint us with those realities of life, which could remain hidden from us. The atrocities of the past, the oppression and discrimination recorded in the annals of history unfold before us when we read.

Even those who choose light, romantic stories get a whiff of the truths of love and life and learn that freedom to live our life the way we want to, was not always possible and is still a far cry for many.Reading quote

Connections and social relationships get better:

The magical power of friendship and reverence, social interaction and kindness is revealed through reading fiction. We can learn some profound lessons of life from fictional characters.

Reading enhances our emotional quotient, our capability of understanding people, complex human behavior and their frailties. I didn’t know how forgiveness could free us from self-imprisonment till I read about it.

Virtues of life can be felt:

Have you noticed how a virtuous character leaves a lasting impression on your mind? Nobody likes a villain who is always conniving to make life difficult but we learn to distinguish between the good and the bad from his devious ways.

“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” – Joseph Addison

Develops analytical skills:

Reading poetry honed my aesthetic and analytical skills and has made me more sensitive towards the beauties around me. It also introduced me to the finer emotions of humanity.

Has reading affected your personality? I would love to hear your perspective.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

 

Arrogant Autocrats

A drop of arrogance
Goes straight to the mind
It’s intoxication kills insightArrogance
Next, it attacks the eyes
Which fail to see others’ plight
It impairs the hearing
As they only hear what they like.

It also affects reasoning power
As all others in sight
Appear ‘fools’
‘Easy to manipulate.’
Puppets’, ready to dance
‘Dummies’, over eager to obey!

Arrogance accompanied by power
Creates insane authoritarians
Who think it is their right
To enslave all humanity
Who think they are always right.

Emotionally challenged, these
Arrogant autocrats fail to bond
With family, friends or employees,
As it is below their dignity to
Respect others’ self-esteem.

But he had more than just a drop
He had stumbled upon a draught!
So arrogance had wreaked havoc on
Whatever was left in his mind
All he could do was, install puppets
To dance to his tunes.

A self-proclaimed despot
This inebriated monster
Lives in a fools’ paradise.
He either disregards History
Or doesn’t have the IQ to understand
That Hitler was a loser!
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems.

If you have liked this poem, please share it at your favorite social networks.
Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Realism Is NOT A Sign Of Defeat

Realism is a light

Knock! Knock!
Who’s there?
I am a realist, a poet and a friend.
The door didn’t open.
I stood there, wondering…did I say something out of place?

I didn’t give up and knocked again, softly.
What do you want?
‘Nothing.’ I couldn’t say a word beyond that.
Expectations? Did I say I don’t have any?

Often I tell myself – expectations are emotional signposts that stunt your growth.

While trying to keep them at bay, introspection pays an unexpected visit…

I know this world is skeptical. I know nobody likes to befriend a realist.

I have been turned away like that a thousand times yet I didn’t learn any lessons.

When I met fantasy, she took me beyond the horizon and introduced me to the stars but their incandescence couldn’t blind me.

Those flights were like lying in a hammock and I could perceive some magnificent hues, relaxing and gathering some fantastic confetti to sprinkle upon my words.

She also whirl-winded through the corridors of romance, riding on the waves of ecstasy but I didn’t lose my sanity. I couldn’t soak myself in the fragrance of fickle-hearted, frivolous love despite its alluring attraction.

When I met mystery, she took me into the darkest tunnels where cobwebs tried to block my vision. Darkness could not hold me for too long as the eternal optimist within me keeps me humored all the time.

Melodrama couldn’t lure me and I refused to be carried away by its teary-eyed hypocrisy.

Thrilling adventures did hook me but their enticement was short lived as my mentor was always breathing in my ear the admonishing words in a firm tone.

Observation and intuition have been my best pals! I still love them.

Realism keeps me grounded. It connects me with people, their emotions and experiences of life.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward 

I met realism very early in life when I was just beginning to form my memories. I remember him clearly standing in the door, with scary daggers in both his hands, reminding me to remain indoors.

He told me, ‘you are a girl in a men’s world.’ This warning developed my emotional quotient and intuition.

He walked with me all the time, threatening to knock me into a drain. One day he did so when I refused to listen to him and jumped ahead to buy a candy.Realism quote

The rebel within me leaped out each time to scratch his face. Some times I did succeed in dodging him but that only exposed my own imprudence.

He revealed to me the travails of life; the aches and the hurts that he gave me steeled me. He acquainted me with the secrets and diktats of my culture. He taught me to pour an embittered heart into a cauldron and ignite it with my words. I grew up with his cues and his decrees became a part of my personality.

An internal rebel, I yearned to break free. There is no doubt that realism can be stifling at times.

Freedom did grace my home and the precious wings that I cherished were spontaneously passed on with realistic values to the next generation.

Realism keeps me focused yet a little dose of fantasy makes a coveted cocktail of poetic delight. Emotions too keep peeping in though I have learnt to channelize them. When I look at my early poetry, completely driven by emotions I marvel at my personal growth and the whole credit goes to introspection.

“Realism can break a writer’s heart,” said Salman Rushdie…such is the power of realism but I have reconciled with him as he has mentored me all my life.

How much of a realist are you?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

But She Embraced Me

Happiness

I didn’t know her when she was renowned
I wailed and blamed others
I lived in my own cocoon
I didn’t know she was fluttering around.

I didn’t know she was near
Ensconced in the layers of gloom
Entrenched in circumstantial conundrums
I didn’t know I had to decode her sphere.

I didn’t know she lives in memories too
Detachment doesn’t debilitate her
Deluge of woes may be disconcerting
I didn’t know she lingers behind blues.

I didn’t know she smiled at me
Each day I sat by my favorite creek
Immersed in my sorrows and grief
I didn’t know she sat by me.

I didn’t know she is so evanescent
Enamored by her cryptic charm
I learned to accept all moments
Happiness lovingly embraced me!
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems.

If you have liked this poem, please share it at your favorite social networks.
Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.