How To Understand Poetry

Understanding Poetry
Poetry of Mother Nature

 

I don’t remember when I started liking poetry. Probably I was born with it or was fascinated by the lyrics of Mother Nature.

When I walk down my memory lane, one image looms large and that is how much effort one of our English professors used to put into explaining the poetry of Tennyson and Wordsworth. While the latter was relatively easier to understand, the former much more complex and obviously we didn’t like the one who was more challenging.

The real challenges came my way when ‘Paradise Lost,’ an epic poem by John Milton was not taught in the class (or if it was, I must be mentally absent) and even when it was discussed, it didn’t evoke any interest!

While prose can be an effortless reading unless it is stream of consciousness writing, poetry can become quite boring if we are not familiar with its techniques and tones.

Despite the tests and trails, I continued to like poetry and slowly discovered that it is a genre par excellence. It can say a lot through literary techniques, which only an admirer of Literature can understand. I still struggle to understand some subtle messages conveyed through simple words.

I have to read my blogger friend Bela’s poems thrice to understand the undertones that appear enigmatic initially. They also inspire ideas to compose another poem.

Ambiguous ideas in a poem provide a food for thought and chisel your creative skills.

Who has the time and the inclination to read and re-read a poem in this fast-paced world? Only poetry lovers do!

Another lovely friend Sue, who is a poet and a prolific blogger of amazing eminence inspires with her poetry.

Most of my blogger friends are elaborative when they share their reflections on my post. Whenever I post a poem, I get a lukewarm response and I often wonder – is it because of poetry?

Quickly my mind hurtles back, my interactions with teenagers get refreshed, all their expressions, yawns and glances stand before me, bringing those lovely memories of hate-love relationship we had with poetry…when we would try to convince each other why poetry is good or bad and how we could understand it better.

I am not an expert but I have figured out a few ways to understand poetry.Understanding Poetry

How to understand a poem:

All readers have their own approach and interpretation but how imagery is used defines a poem. Can you read between those special words to fathom their depth?

It is better to read slowly. Stop and ponder over at the word that seems simple but abstruse.

“If you’re curious, there is always something new to be discovered in the backdrop of your daily life,” says Roy T. Bennett. Be curious. Inquisitiveness and interest are two important elements that lead to our understanding of a poem.

Poetry can’t be scanned and understood like prose as the former demands concentration, attention and gentle reading.

If you read a poem in a hurry, you would miss the real meaning. Many times words are used as metaphors.

You have to be familiar with most common literary techniques like simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, alliteration and assonance.

Imaginative flights of poets can’t be predicted, we have to fly with them to figure out their proficiencies.

Critical analysis of a poem reveals the nuances of its theme, undertones and other signals, which remain hidden to a scanner.

Some poems are ambiguous. Probably they relate to the poet’s past or buried memory, which he wouldn’t like to reveal yet, give a vent to his emotions through writing.

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” – Leonard Cohen

Do you like poetry? Do you read a poem slowly?

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

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

 

Trapped In Time.. #Waiting

waiting

Trapped in time
I stood there, crouching behind the pillar
Suppressing the urge to climb up
Resisting the little light
My only link to the outside world

If you call me a coward…you may
I wouldn’t defend myself
As I was guarding peace
I was shielding secrets
Spilling them could have doomed us

Keeping myself away was the only hope
Waiting for the hour to pass
Longing for cataclysm to cease
Hoping to see the love and light
Of the new world

Trapped in time
I froze…But…
Some issues remain unresolved
Some sores keep festering
My whispers to self still reverberate

In our palace of plaintive peace
Eerie sounds of strife shake me
Self-doubts stir me out of slumber
Challenges of the new world
Stare at us, sardonically!
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

Inspired from Sue Vincent’s Waiting #writephoto photo prompt.

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

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Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

When We Gather The Courage To Step Out Of Our Comfort Zone…

Comfort Zone

All people don’t possess that courage, sometimes we are dissuaded by circumstances or some fears that lurk around keep warning us, whispering into our ears…is it that essential…aren’t you comfortable?

Do you know that ‘comfort zone’, though alluring is quite detrimental? It blocks our mind. It restricts our thinking. It encourages procrastination. It impedes our way to success.

Before we convince ourselves to step out, time flies, life passes by and we realize it is too late.

Too much of comfort makes us indolent and we start accepting life as it unfolds. We stop taking the risks. We forget that life is like a stream, not a lake, however beautiful it may seem.

I know a woman who believed in taking life easy. She never had any big goals; she was very fond of socializing and traveling. A fun-filled life motivated her more than her books. She had never taken her school and college assignments seriously, she had such friends who took pleasure in watching movies and organizing parties. She was not interested in balancing her life.

She happened to start her career as an elementary school teacher, just to earn some pocket money and that gave her great satisfaction. She had never thought beyond that but she happened to marry a very ambitious doctor, whose main interest was a successful profession. He tried to motivate her, persuade her and advise her to take her profession seriously. He reminded her that she was highly qualified.

Let’s call her Shimmer. She didn’t pay any attention to all that pep talk, which she had to hear every single day. She wanted to live in her comfort zone. She thought she wouldn’t be able to handle more than what was in her hands. She got a better break in a high school, which was nearer to her home and her daughter too could study there, so Shimmer changed her job, which seemed to be the best one to her, now.

The awakening hit her one-day when during an argument about her job; she was mocked at for being an ordinary teacher. This hurt her deeply because she knew she had never explored her capabilities. She knew she could accomplish whatever she wanted to.Comfort Zone

She just had to step out of her comfort zone! That off-the-cuff remark proved to be a defining moment for her career. She took up the challenge to prove her worth.

She applied for the top positions at various schools and got picked up by an upcoming school at the young age of 32. She never looked back. She took a fledging institution to envious heights. People of her age looked up to her for inspiration.

Self-belief can take you to unimaginable pinnacles. We just have to tap the power within us; we just have to gather the courage to step out of that comfort zone, which disempowers us.

Shimmer had never made any endeavor to check her potential. Many people are trapped in such situations. They never feel motivated to go beyond the ordinary to see what lies ahead.

The same carefree person, fond of a lot of leisure and fun has completely changed. Now her comfort zone is her school, her students and all those responsibilities, which she carries out most sincerely.

She happens to be my younger sister!

From an elementary school teacher to the illustrious Principal of a renowned school, the journey was quite smooth because a new challenge inspired her to step out of her comfort zone.

When we step out of our comfort zone:

  • We can work on those long forgotten dreams.
  • We can find new untrodden paths.
  • We can rediscover ourselves.
  • We meet new and interesting people.
  • We encounter new challenges.
  • We learn with every endeavor.
  • New avenues of growth unfold before us.

“We cannot expect to grow if we are too afraid or unwilling to change and face challenges. When we exit our everyday, mundane lifestyles to do something different we can experience growth, undiscovered strength, and new abilities within ourselves.” – Ashley Ormon

All we need is a little push but that has to come from within. It is our own inner voice that can nudge us and infuse new verve into us.

Do you lack that valor? Are you dwelling in your comfort zone? What inspires you? I would love to hear your views.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh