How Poetry Makes Us Positive Minded


Positive power of poetry

If you are a poetry lover, you must be familiar with the positive power that a poem can provide us. I have quoted many inspiring lines from the famous poets in one of my earlier posts. ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling being my favorite.

Poetry soothes the writer as well as the reader.

Recently I stumbled across this gem, an outstanding poem written in 1932. It demonstrates an incredible power to assuage loss and anguish. Though the poet had written it for her friend who could not visit her mother’s grave due to disturbing times, its popular appeal can be judged from the fact that it was read by the father of a young soldier, who had been killed by a bomb in Northen Ireland.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die. – Mary  Elizabeth Frye

The poem conjures a thousand images of nature to lift the gloomy mood, which fades away in the wake of so much positivity. Read it twice and you would be transported into a different world.

Those who consider reading or writing a poem a difficult task have probably not been introduced to poetry at an impressionable stage of life when emotions and sensitivities are forming.

It is just like book love; some of us are passionate readers while many people don’t care for a book. I know many persons who have not read a single book in their life. When you try to understand the reasons behind this habit, most of the times you would discover that they had no exposure to reading in their childhood.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” – Walt Whitman 

From Rumi to Rudyard Kipling to Maya Angelou, poetry has always evoked images of romanticism, realism and Sufism and we get carried away with those images depending on the phase of our life.

Poetry can convey the emotions most succinctly:

“Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs” – William Shakespeare

A renowned Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib says, “Love is a river of fire and you have to drown in it to reach it.” Love could perish you, that’s what Ghalib’s quote is trying to convey through just one couplet and he is talking about romantic love.Poetry of earth

Poetry holds the most profound thoughts:

“The poetry of the earth is never dead,” John Keats has compressed all pervading beauty of nature and its subtle sounds just within one line.

Poetry clasps our sweetest and saddest thoughts:

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. – P.B. Shelley

Poetry carries the wisdom of the world; much can be learnt from it as every aspect of life is depicted through it:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.” – William Blake

Poetry inspires us to look at the beauty around us:IMG_3370

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
– Robert Frost

I have picked up those lines of poetry, which are very easy to understand. In vain do we get scared by this splendid genre of literature, which has been called “the crown of literature.”

Have you felt the positive power of poetry?

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.

61 thoughts on “How Poetry Makes Us Positive Minded

  1. Such a well written post. I’m one of those exception, poetry is not natural for me! But sometimes the flow of words work for me.

    1. I am sure the first poem of this post did work for you arv, it is so simple and profound that nobody can miss its message. Poetry would surely become your pal dear friend if you keep visiting it…like they say…aap yu hi agar humse milte rahe… 🙂

      1. Ha ha.. well said. You keep composing I’ll keep reading. Even my better half writes poetry too… but it’s only sometimes that it clicks with me. Will adhere to your advice.

  2. What a delightful cornucopia of encomiums on poets and poetry, Balroop. Poetry is language at its most distilled, arising from soul’s yearning for the perfect and aspiration for the beautiful, which may have prompted Robert Frost to effuse, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words” or Albert Einstein to state, “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas”. The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit and the waves dance to the music of its melodies and sparkle in its brightness. Referring to dance, Charles Baudelaire stated that “The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs”. The renowned mystic Paramahamsa Yogananda referred to poetry’s sublime connection when he commented that “Many great works of art, poetry, and music are inspired by astral memories. The desire to do noble, beautiful things here on Earth is also often a carryover of astral experiences between a person’s earth lives”. More or less in a similar vein W B Yeats observed,
    “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry”. Bringing a tone of statesmanship to the context are the words of JFK, “When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses”.

    1. Wow! What a lovely description of poetry you have effused dear Raj, with wonderful quotes and your own philosophical reflections…I am feeling humbled, as ever by your response, which I look forward to and when I get one, I am reassured that this time I could touch your heart with my words. Many thanks dear friend. This post is actually inspired from the first poem I have quoted. It moved me to each nerve and sinew and I wanted to share it with my friends.
      I have read and re-read your quotable thoughts and would continue to do so till they percolate down into my skin.

  3. Such beautiful lines of poetry you shared, Balroop. I was very late to the poetry game. At university my lecturers weren’t a huge fan of the poetry I wrote, and I didn’t score very well. But when I came to WordPress and discovered poetry like yours, I appreciated poetry all over again 🙂

    So agree that poetry holds profound thoughts, and like Mary Elizabeth Frye’s poem, they can capture feelings in a moment in time in a few succinct sentences. And that is exactly why a lot of thought goes into poetry – poetry gets to the point but at the same time each line of poetry is often in tune with the bigger picture of life, a thousand images, a thousand message even. Definitely agree that poetry has a positive force behind it. Often it helps us see what we have around us and it forces us to think – or at the very least think about what a simple sentence may mean, and then come to realise it is not such a simple sentence after all 🙂

    1. Like Raj has so aptly said through a quote…“We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry”…that is the beauty of poetry! I am glad you befriended it slowly but once you have done it, it is going to stay forever with you, through your solitude and joy, through ups and downs, a friend that would never betray and would absorb all your thoughts. Isn’t Mary’s poem so soothing, so true, so lovingly positive, lifting us out of all kinds of gloom? Yes, in tune with the real picture of life! I am glad it resonated with you dear Mabel. 🙂
      Love your insights. Stay blessed!

  4. What a beautiful way to summarize the profound effect that poetry has on our heart and soul! I loved the poem ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep.’ Thanks for sharing, Balroop. The poem conjures such vivid imagery and positive thoughts in the mind that it makes us look at life in a different way altogether. The writings of Shelley, Frost, Shakespeare, Mirza Ghalib and Rumi convey deep thoughts in a simple way that uplifts the readers. Poetry has the power to move the reader and leave an everlasting impression on the mind. Moreover, some of the poems stay with us throughout. Positive indeed!

    1. Thank you Somali, I am so happy that the positive vibes are reaching so many of my friends through this post. You are right, Mary’s poem evokes vivid images and conveys subtle lessons of life besides providing solace. Isn’t it amazing that such simple words carry profound thoughts?

  5. Balroop, my heart sings reading your wonderful post. Commenting the way I feel would make this another post.😊 …your thoughts about poetry and literature, your choices. All are great. Would you believe, I have “If” hung between two windows in a room. Printed on a woven cloth and framed.
    So, this is my brief answer. Suffice it to say that to me this post is a gem.


    1. Many thanks dear Miriam for such a lovely thought…I am feeling honoured as this comes from a poet like you! I am delighted to know that ‘If’ has been inspiring you too. I have shared in one of my earlier posts the excerpt which I admired the most and I too kept it under the glass of my study table for years till I had memorised the poem. Here is the link :

  6. Indeed a very profound post for so many reasons, let me elucidate few and I loved every bit of the thoughts that has gone behind the composition of the post. The question on how I have been looking at poetry, being so much involved in prose form. I always needed a break and an outlet to give my framed thoughts so much deeply entangled in the prose framework a path to breakaway from the mundane and the logic. Prose is predominantly logical and poetry is profoundly emotional and there is a something for both our ears and eyes. There is in fact music in poetry and there is rhythm which makes it harmonious to our senses, it is soothing and it is mystical, and all adds up to conjure a beautiful picture for us and we are flown with flow and form of the words and the wording that connects and collaborate with our deeper thoughts.

    Mary Elizabeth poem, 1932…so much time has gone and we are in era where thoughts fly and feelings are crumbled in seconds but those emotions of a father losing his son remains universal and agnostic of time, our soul remains in the nature and it gets manifested in so many different forms and yes we read those lines we feel our parents are there somewhere in those rains, snows, winds to the morning hush and the green fields.

    I liked this statement “Poetry carries the wisdom of the world…”, we convey so much of our feelings and emotions in just few well crafted chosen words and that too words that evokes powerful images of life’s diversity and dichotomies, so much of alliteration that goes along with it and the generous use of simile and metaphors; Aristotle wrote in his Poetics that “the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor” …indeed poetry has always evoked images of romanticism & realism.

    There are so beautiful thoughts that has come in the ensuing discussion and this line of Rajagopal was striking ““Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words”…this adds to the poetic discussion on this topic.

    Thanks Balroop for such a thought stirring post.

    1. Dear Nihar, you are such a fountainhead of ideas and words and you need just one little thought to flow like a stream! Love your insights and in-depth analysis, as ever…you have written another post! Many thanks for that as you always add so much value to the discussion. Often I feel we can write in collaboration! 🙂

      I agree with you, poetry is all about emotions and logic has no place in it. A poem is more like a fairy tale, broken into lovely phrases, interspersed with literary devices of one’s choice. Poetry must have been inspired from the music of Mother Nature, that’s why it retains its true character by its rhythm…soothing, mystical and lyrical 🙂

      1. Indeed Balroop it would be a real privilege to me to work together on a common project and the kind of profound thoughts that you bring through your amazing poetry, it will simply amplify the joint venture, only fear is whether I would be able do justice your space of excellence.
        It has always intrigued me where is the point of convergence or where is that point it becomes divergent when we talk of poetry and prose, and there is so much poetry that goes into prose to make it so powerful its literary value, not to undermine the essence of the logic and plot that goes in weaving a beautiful story.
        So well said poem is like a fairy tale and I may take the permission to say prose is like the folk tales and between these two frames of literature lies something mystical and that keeps us intrigued and inspired.
        Next only to nature that nurtures our soul could well be poetry though music is something that keep stirring our soul and good reading of stories us the space for soul searching…
        Thanks so much Balroop for those lovely words of appreciation and that too coming from you makes me feel doubly excited.
        Have a lovely week ahead.

  7. Balroop, this piece is brilliant! I love the way you think. I was quite moved by your observations. 💕

    1. Thanks Colleen, I am glad you liked it! Poetry is no less magical as it can transport us to whatever place we want to visit, creating lovely images! Stay blessed dear friend and have a wonderful week.

  8. What a most beautiful post B. Poetry is an expression of the soul and you’ve depicted quite a few lovely ones here. I particularly loved the first one by Frye.
    You mentioned some people may not read books because they nay not have been exposed to them when they were younger, a sad thought, but happens plenty. I grew up without a book in my house, moved away from home at a young age and became a voracious reader. Ironically, many of my friends have no interest in reading books, needless to say, through the years I find how less and less we have in common. 🙂 x

    1. Thank you Deb, I was so right when I felt inspired to share Frye’s poem as nobody could miss its uplifting value. I could never read books as a child because I didn’t know their value and couldn’t get age appropriate books. When I grew up and realised their value, I tried my best to read whatever time I could find but couldn’t become a fast reader…I have always felt that it is due to lack of reading at the right age!

  9. Really loved the poem on loss. It made me tear up a bit and think of friends who have lost loved ones recently.

    Not only should everyone travel to someplace very different than their own country, they should take a poetry class, not only to appreciate poems but to work with words and find themselves in them.

  10. I love these examples of poetry you’ve shared, Balroop. They are so profound and with so few words! It’s hard to pick a favorite but the first one really resonates in my heart. The power of poetry is undeniable. I play with poetry and have for many years but I often feel as though my words are childish. I guess that’s okay, too but I am self conscious to share my poems.

    1. Lisa, you must share your poetry with us. I am sure we are going to like it. Thanks for understanding the power of poetry, we realise it slowly but once we do, it keeps getting stronger. 🙂

  11. Oh, Balroop … There is nothing I can say that you haven’t already said. I’ve written poetry since I first learned to write. At 6, 7, and 8 years old, it was the only vehicle I had with which to speak my anguish and joy. This is such a beautiful post. I am so grateful to know you, dear friend 💜

    1. No wonder we clicked so well Tina! We have not met without a reason…we have so much common! Thanks for saying that. I am blessed to have friends like you. 🙂 love and hugs.

  12. Though I don’t say it publicly, I became a fan of poetry after I read some of Saru’s works (long before I started reading others). I agree with each aspect you’ve mentioned, some of your poems take me to another world too 😊

    1. I have read some of Saru’s Hindi poetry and it is indeed wonderful. You are a wonderful spouse to read and appreciate her poetry. Stay blessed!

  13. That is a very beautiful and emotional poem… it’s hard to see how anyone could not be moved by it. And some lovely lines from famous poems quoted at the end of your post, too. I have always enjoyed deciphering the ‘hidden’ meaning in a poem, but only recently learned how a poem is so much more than that, how the form of the poem contributes to it’s meaning. That was new to me. My fave poem of the moment is The Sun Rising by John Donne because even though he was born in the C16th, it shows that we haven’t changed much over the centuries; all the things which make us human, like love, are as relevant today as they were then. Also, it’s just very beautiful, romantic and sensual. 😀 Enjoyed your post!

    1. Thank you Ali and welcome to Emotional Shadows…most of my poetry revolves around emotions…what would life be without them? Yes, they have not changed as basic human behaviour remains the same around the globe.
      I did read John Donne long back and was moved by one of his poems on death, which says’ Death be not proud…’
      Many thanks for standing by to appreciate good poetry. 🙂

  14. Balroop, you included my favorite poem of all time, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. I memorized it as a teen and still love it to this day. Your words on poetry have me smiling so wide xx

  15. What a wonderful post about poems, I totally agree. I enjoy poems – always – but I’m myself seem to be not able to find the right words for poems. I’m more a novel person.

  16. Such a wonderful collection of poems and quotes here dear Balroop I loved the one by Walt Whitman , May we forever keep our Dreams of beauty, romance and love.. These are indeed what we live for.. ❤ 🙂

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