What is #Poetry? #NationalPoetryMonth

“The crown of literature is poetry.” – W. Somerset Maugham

Every year, I ask this question! Every year, I understand another nuance of poetry.

Each person has his own definition of poetry but putting a few words together doesn’t make poetry. A poem has a soul, a heart and an emotion. Even a haiku is meaningless without a soul.

However complex or flowery the language, a poem must be meaningful and the value of the words should reach the reader. An ambiguous poem is like an abandoned castle that lacks charm.

I’ve read many such so-called modern poems that lack clarity of thought, also those with multiple interpretations. While the latter earned my admiration, the former continue to teach profound lessons.

I keep returning to quotable definitions to understand poetry and each time I learn something new.

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” – Carl Sandburg.

I could hear that echo. I have seen the dance of shadows. I’ve embraced those shadows and put them into words.

“It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.” – Howard Nemerov.

The ice never melts and therefore most people avoid poetry. They just touch the surface and don’t wait for a little thaw that waits within the words.

“A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley.

This is such a sweet compliment but there is no doubt that poets do try to cheer themselves by blending their sorrows into the words till they sound sweet.

“Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.” – Dennis Gabor.

A poem may not be rhythmic, but the music could be ingrained in the emotions embedded within the words. It would surely reach your heart if you pay attention to them.

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” – William Wordsworth.

A poem without emotions would seem hollow. Poetry is the best form of expressing emotions, as just one metaphor could convey a thousand feelings.

“Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race.” – Johann Georg Hamann.

Look around and hear the poetry of Mother Nature. We learned all those cadences from her… the rustling of leaves, the babbling of brooks, the gurgling waterfalls and all those notes taught us poetry.

“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.” – Don Marquis.

You can share your own definition. I am eager to hear your thoughts about poetry.

You can click here for more poetry.

If you like poetry,  check my latest book: Magical Whispers

Balroop Singh.

I Can’t be Shackled…

“Welcome home,” I hope your adventures are no longer alluring for you.

“Please don’t close that door,” she sprawled on the couch, hardly paying any attention to my smile.

A cold sweep almost knocked me over, and I closed the door.

“Do you want to asphyxiate me?” She leaped toward the French window to get out into the patio and collapsed on the loveseat.

Teenage tantrums don’t sway me. I buried myself into the murder mystery that was more interesting than her shenanigans.

“I know those thoughts! Don’t mess with me; consider me as your blessing. Don’t try to tie me to your strings.”

I looked up in awe, as she spouted:

I fly with butterflies
Colors define my personality
Lovebirds emulate me.

I swing on clouds
My ochre robe blends with twilight
I am ambrosial. 

I dance on the waves
Water cannot drench me
My shimmer could dazzle.

My harp is captivating
Its strings are tuned by Nature
Its melodies manifold.

I sing with the stars
My songs sooth those who care for
The sick and deprived.

I can’t be shackled
I dwell in the wondrous woods
Warbling wistful tunes.

Pixaby images

I break free
When you take me into dark alleys
I soar beyond bickering. 

I regale relationships
But can’t get fettered to them
Don’t squabble with me.

Your expectations
Can’t carve the spectrum of my path
I am ethereal.

“Enough of your bluster,” I could merely mumble those words when she whooshed out of the door with the reminder that chiseled poetry book that I had planned, needs my attention.

Many thanks to Diana for the inspiration, initiated by her muse. Click here for the rules and have fun with your muse.

Lately my muse takes pride in poetic conversations. Thank you for reading.

If you like poetry, Check my latest book: Magical Whispers

Pick up your copy at Amazon. 

My Muse Almost Got Strangulated

 

words my muse loves
In love with words

She has been wandering around too much, meeting strangers, expecting appreciation, gloating at her beauty and intellect as she reclined leisurely in the glorious sunshine, having abandoned the shadows recently.

Having emerged from her poetic alleys, she got bolder and her escapades with young adventurers almost throttled her as she refused to wear modest garments…some of which seemed incandescent to her new friends. They tried to impose their opinion on her, telling her not to push people away with her ‘excessive alliteration’ and ‘lengthy’ words, guiding her to be humble and simple.

It was too much for the one who has never been snubbed, who likes to boss around, considering herself to be a spontaneous charmer.

She came home disappointed and has been sulking.

‘I hate you’, she looked me in the eye and scowled. I just smiled, which agitated her further. She threw all she had in her pockets at me and scampered away.

Yesterday I saw her, sitting by her favorite creek. I continued my walk, pretending obliviousness but she followed me, igniting new ideas in my mind. I invited her to sit down to have a healthy conversation. She agreed nonchalantly.

‘Would you like a cup of tea,’ I tried to diffuse the situation.

‘I don’t like judgmental people. What do they know about me? How could they condemn me?’ She often blurts like that and I was well prepared to calm her down.

I nodded most lovingly and tried to explain that we don’t have any control over the demeanor of people. She shot me a dagger like glance and espoused her view: ‘why can’t you use the word ‘behavior,’ which such people understand better.’ That’s what they want. That’s why they criticize me.’

‘Critics add another dimension to our personality. Take it in a positive manner. We don’t need to change our style just because others want us to. Let’s bless our critics, as we owe gratitude to them for being our readers.’

Discerning my sermonizing mood, my muse chose to step into the realms of dreams.

Inspired from Diana’s disciplinarian muse. Thanks dear friend.

A poet quote

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Dealing With My Dearest Buddy And Reprimanding Bully

creativity

The hangover of travel still lurks around me though I am back on my favorite couch, trying to wake up my creative critter, which seems to have gone into hibernation. Having failed to fuel my imagination for almost a month, I know I can’t pass on the responsibility to my dearest muse who responds spontaneously to stimulus.

When I struggle with self-doubt, Maya Angelou’s words reverberate around me
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Lately I have been spending too much time with the antagonists of creativity, seeking pleasure in the festivities, lounging around with family and friends and gathering some golden moments of delight.

‘Do you want to stay in your self-obsessed boundaries?’ I ask my creative buddy.
She just looks at me irately and closes her eyes.

‘You are my only love, my solace, my dearest confidant.’
She eyed me with a sneering satisfaction and dug deeper into its acrimonious abode.

‘Please come and sit with me, I have some interesting escapades to share.’
‘You have been selfish and unkind. You got mired in self-doubt. You are a procrastinator.’

I was taken aback but I knew she was right. I nodded a little, refusing to agree whole-heartedly with the indictments, trying to keep my vacillating valor intact within me.

‘Your complacency irritates me, your attitude is so annoying and your priorities are paradoxical. I have failed to understand you.’

‘But I love you. You are my only island of amity and tranquility.’
‘Love is not enough. You have to be consistent. You must know that love means ‘loyalty’, ‘obeisance’, ‘venerating’ and ‘eloquence.’

‘If you are not loyal to your words, they become elusive. If you lack obeisance, reflections fritter away. If you don’t revere your ephemeral ideas, they lack coherence and if you are not eloquent enough, your touch with your subtle self becomes feeble.’creativity-quote

The daunting discourse didn’t die down till I agreed to hold the hands of my reprimanding bully, nodding to all her diktats and flying away with her to cross the boundaries of horizon.

She reminded me…‘You have to be intrepid to jump off the cliffs, quit rational thinking and develop wings whenever wanted. You have to keep the fire burning and redefine your priorities.’

I didn’t like her preconditions because family has always been my priority. I have never looked beyond my practical responsibilities but I agreed, as I wanted to win her confidence. I know she is just cross. I know she too knows me well. She appreciates space but when it starts creating wedges, she possesses the potential to bridge the breach.

I sincerely hope I would come up to the expectations of my dearest buddy.

Have you ever been admonished by your creative self?
Thank you for reading this amalgamation of emotions. 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.