How My Love For Words Led Me…

love for words

My love for words dates back to those crazy days of playing word games in school, when we perused our pocket dictionaries to accomplish the challenge of finding new words and guessing the meanings.

Despite those word-challenging games, my vocabulary remained so insignificant that I had to look up simple words like ‘gaunt’ to give the exact meaning to my students.

Can you believe that I have been accused of using difficult words in my poems?

Can you fathom my elation at such a compliment?

It is indeed a compliment for a person who has always struggled with words, who was not that blessed to be surrounded by books as a child, who was always eager to borrow books from the library but had to return them half-read!

My early poetry was very simple.

I had written few lines for my outgoing class:

Wish you love, wish you joy
Wish you all that you try
Guiding you was my goal
Avoiding advice was your role.

Shall I ever forget your faces!
Naughty but calm in all cases
Sometimes pleasant, sometimes killing
Sometimes obstinate, sometimes willing.

That laughter, that mirth
Those tears, those fears
All those hours that we shared
Those moments when you dared
To disagree and disobey
Always with me, they’ll stay.
© Balroop Singh, 1997

I was told that it seemed like some child had composed those lines.

The snub steeled my resolve to keep writing.

I dived into the sea of emotions
Floundering around I met poetry
She smiled at my naivety
But her song soothed my nerves
Warbling wistful notes of manumitting
Embracing her all-pervasive freedom
Effacing nonchalant, noxious attitudes
Of those who scoffed at my words
I felt an ebullient moment of accomplishment!

Keeping in mind the words of one of my favorite ghazals, written by Nida Fazli…

“Duniya jise kehte hain jadoo ka khillona hai, mil jaye to mitti hai, kho jaye to sona hai” (Urdu) –  What we call this world is a mystical toy, as useless as dust if you have it but as precious as gold if you lose it. (translated from Urdu)

The enigma of poetry through the wonder of words is thrilling beyond imagination. I keep landing in new worlds, where horizons keep widening and new mysteries keep unfolding. The quest to know more words continues with the encouragement of all of you, dear readers.

April is celebrated as National Poetry Month here and I am inviting all the poets I know to share their views about poetry. If you are interested in participating, please stay tuned. If you want to share your poetry or want to be my guest, you are welcome to contact me.

Thank you for reading this introductory piece to love for poetry and celebrating National Poetry Month. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

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

Balroop Singh.

38 thoughts on “How My Love For Words Led Me…

  1. Even though some of us love poems with complex and uncommon words but reality is that simple words have a mass appeal. I feel in countries where English is not the first language or it’s not spoken widely this is even more relevant. Your poem is simple yet it has a strong draw.

    1. Reality also is that we have poems as simple as ‘Daffodils’ and as complex as The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock…the choice lies with the reader. Thanks Arv, for liking and understanding the emotion behind my poem.

  2. I like your early poetry. It shows that it was always within you, and I’m glad you didn’t give up or listen to the critics. We all have to start somewhere, grow and learn and refine. Enjoy National Poetry Month. 🙂

  3. I don’t think poetry has to be complex to be meaningful and beautiful, Balroop. I like your initial verse; it is fun and conveys your intention well. I got your email and will get to this today. Hugs.

  4. Someone saying ‘a child composed it’ to you doesn’t sound like they liked your poetry very much – or maybe they were missing the point. Sometimes the simplest words says the loudest and conveys the most significant meaning. I really like the use of the exclamation mark in that poem and feel that you felt so enthused writing it. From both poems, I feel a myriad of emotions, good and bad and that’s life like you said to me: the good times go with the bad and vice-versa.

    Happy National poetry month, Balroop. Keep writing your poetry 🙂

    1. I agree with you Mabel…simple words speak louder and in case of poetry, what matters more is the emotion. Thank you for understanding my words so well. Love and hugs. 🙂

  5. Hi Balroop, I loved the poem that you had written for your class.Coming straight from the heart, it makes a simple and enjoyable read, and beautifully captures the restlessness and ebullience of your young students.Your poems now are mature and have a deep silken feel. yet I enjoyed the friskiness of your first poem.
    Wish you a Happy National Poetry Month. May you always enjoy poetry and may your poetry keep getting better with each passing day like good wine. 😀

    1. You are right Somali, it came from my heart. As young teachers, we too feel attached to our students and when the teenagers of an outgoing class express their attachment, a teacher too feels overwhelmed. This poem carries those raw emotions. Many thanks for using that lovely word ‘silken’…I am feeling elated 🙂
      You too are a poet at heart and mark my words…you would come back to this genre as life calms things down around you, creating more leisure. Stay blessed and have a wonderful week.

  6. Sometimes simplicity is the most sublime form of humanity, including in literature! Yes, we love our words. But as long as there is great HEART in the words we use, it doesn’t matter how big or academic they are (intellectually). In fact, I’ve read poems/stories that move me not an inch, because they’re more about showing off the words, instead of showing off feeling and emotions. Soooo, that said, I love your early poem. And, it brought me back to my childhood (10 and on) when I wrote poems for my family’s birthdays and special occasions. I loved expressing my love through poetry. I still do. And I write those poems with the simplicity of love (which we know is actually quite complex indeed). ❤

    1. I like how you have put it across…’a great HEART in the words’! Yes, that is what words mean to us. Thank you for sharing the depth of your love for words and the poems you write to convey your love. Some streaks of poetry do hide in all writers if they write about people. I am delighted to see that shimmer in you. Love and hugs dear friend.

    1. Thank you Natalie. I couldn’t find any contact link to invite you formally to celebrate National Poetry Month here. Please feel free to contribute your favorite poem or a poem that made a mark on you. Love for poetry and how it developed is the main theme here.

  7. I too love words, Balroop; and like you, was not surrounded by books as a child. We made our way despite the lack. I love your early poetry. I’d have been thrilled to read your 1997 poem as student. It speaks the language of youth ❤

    1. Thank you Tina for seeing this poem from the eye of a student, I remember very clearly that my students were thrilled when they had read this poem. 🙂

  8. I agree also with Mabel who offers that the simplest words can convey the deepest meaning. The iambic pantameter poem you post was a sweet tribute to a group of students, not something you submitted for a national prize. I hope your students appreciated it! Also we often think our poems must rhyme, but you of course have discovered that they do not. Experience is valuable in this regard, as with almost everything. Aloha. ❤

    1. I had no idea about the form you are referring to Bela…I just penned down whatever emotion I was experiencing. Later it was published in the school magazine too and the students loved it. Loving memories!! 🙂

  9. Hi Balroop, Both the poems emerge from emotions of your heart. The first one, so simple full of love and wishes for your students, while the next one reflects your journey and growth as a poet. Continue this beautiful journey with your thoughts and words. Best wishes ❤ !

  10. I used to introduce poetry to my high school students by pointing out they all listen to song, and song lyrics are indeed poetry. Too many of them equate reading poetry as some lofty thing in life, but really poetry is all around us. Teaching poetry was always my favorite as it was such break from the regular do-or-die to pas the test grind of language arts class.

    1. Love the positivity in your observation Jeri…poetry is indeed all around us. Sensitive ones notice and those who miss have to be reminded to look carefully. My first introduction to poetry was through song lyrics, some of which contain the philosophy of life. I too liked teaching poetry despite those looks of displeasure at the faces of some students but what a pleasure it was to turn those looks around! 🙂

  11. You were right to keep writing Balroop and discover further the world of poetry. I love your first and your second poems. They are different and still they come from within, from the heart.
    I received your mail and will participate with pleasure my friend. Till the, take care anf keep inspiring us all.

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