How Much Of Our Poetry Is About Us?

How much Life in poetry
When I published my debut book, ‘Sublime Shadows of Life’ my excitement was at  cloud nine and I got some copies printed for friends and family and sent them, even to those friends whom I met occasionally or had not met since school days.

One of my friends who had not been in touch with me for a long time rang me up and asked: ‘Are you okay?’

I replied in affirmative and asked why was she asking.

She had a grim tone and said: ‘Is everything going well in your life?’

I laughed loudly at the tone of my fun-loving friend and asked her what was wrong with her.

She told me that she got alarmed at some of my poems, which talked about oppression and dark moments.

Though I had mentioned in the blurb “I, you, he, we and they are universal symbols, which highlight the fact that happiness is not a destination…” but who reads the introduction!

Authors draw inspiration from life and people around them and many of them agree that they do creep into their stories.

Some of my poems do give a peep into my life. I have written about an incident that moved me deeply. Some of my poems are an emotional outburst; some are inspired from the life of my friends but all of them are not about me.

This one is. I hope you would understand who this pearl is.

                                MY PEARL

Time has stood still
The storm is yet to pass
The descent of night seems eternal
Perplexed, petrified, I wait.

Wait for a new dawn
Wait for a smooth tide
Wait for that lovely flight
Which brings hope!

There was a time
When your hands held mine
The fingers so ensconced
It was hard to distinguish.

Now I hold an empty oyster
The pearl I nurtured is gone
Slipped away, leaving marks
Hard to erase, hard to forget

The purity of my pearl,
The glory of her glow,
Now brightens another world
That mitigates my woe.
© Balroop Singh, 2003

Wendy, a spiritual poet, has shared her thoughts about this topic “I have written poems about defining moments in my life. Although at that time, I may not be aware that I am writing about a moment that I would consider life defining. There have certainly been life defining moments that I did not write about at the time, but a reference to the event came much later in life as a line or stanza in a poem, as with my father’s death when I was 19.

Ritu too has written about life defining moments: “I think one of my most poignant poems about my life was the one I wrote one morning, in 10 minutes, about my journey to become a mother…” She has shared that poem with us:

FROM TWINKLE TO REALITY

Let me take you down that road,
Much travelled through eternity
The journey to become a mum,
From twinkle to reality.

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Ritu Bhathal

The plans you make at a young age,
Full of gurgles and laughter,
The horror as you realise,
What really does come after!

The fun of trying,
The monthly wait.
The disappointment,
That feeling, you hate…

The years of trying,
Full of hospitals and checks,
The medication taking you over,
You feel like total wrecks…

Then finally, the day comes
That positive is clear
The goal that you were aiming for,
Has suddenly come near.

The months of fascination,
Your changing body grows
The feeling of satisfaction
That only you can know.

Those pain-filled days, or hours
To reach the prize you sought
The feeling of satisfaction
That this little bundle brought.

I gaze at you in wonder
Are you really here?
I’m overwhelmed with happiness
And a tiny bit of fear.

Will I be able to give to you
All you want and need?
As you look at me, wide eyed
Snuggled close while you feed.

Little blessing, sent from God
My heart is filled with joy
I will do all I can for you,
My darling baby boy.

And so the cycle continues
The waits and checks again
We’re gifted with a gorgeous girl
After a little more pain.

My life is here with me right now
Some twinkles from my eyes.
But I’ll never forget those twinkles
That now, do grace the skies…

Dedicated to my wonderful children, recognising the struggles to have them, and remembering my 2 angels lighting the sky at night.
©Ritu Bhathal

Lisa has shared a poignant poem that she wrote during the difficult moments of her divorce.

PRAIRIE PRISON

Here I sit in my Prairie prison
I have known
Great joy and worse sorrow
Here I sit in my home
Longing for more…

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Lisa Thomson

The ocean
And mountain peaks calling
I make this prison home
I look out of my window
While the prairie winds blow
Dust in my eye, pebbles in my soul

Here in my prairie prison
I long for my Ocean boy
The one and only
Yet some ties bind and clasp me
Fastening me to a make believe home
Among wheat fields

Can you blame me?
I bore my children in a prairie home
A landscape so flat
It cannot compare
To my wild, sea salt air

Maybe I’ll get there
But now
I gaze out of my prairie window
Where I found great joy
And worse sorrow.
© Lisa Thomson, Aug ‘06

I would be gifting two ebooks of Sublime Shadows Of Life, my debut book to those two readers who write the most poetic answer to all the posts I publish this month – #NationalPoetryMonth. Happy writing!

Thank you for reading this. 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.

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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.

Illusional Calm

landscape
Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto

                                          I sit in the wilderness
                              Watching each shade shrouding me
                                With your periwinkled love
                              I absorb your storms with serenity
                       The deluge within me is immeasurable

                                       Welcome to my abode
                                  A cauldron of fire and ash
                         Flaunting flames of tranquil passion
                      Tread carefully or you may be charred
                             By timeless tales of disdain

                         You would also find emotions here
                             Floating in the sea of solitude
                     They may break out of embankments
                         But the fall would be cushioned
                          By the spectrum of perceptions.

                      © Balroop Singh

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday photo prompt #writephoto. 

You can click here for more poetry.

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

My Comfort Zone…

I feel most like me…
When I am at home
When I can speak my heart out
Without thinking I would be misconstruedBeauty of buds
When I am surrounded by the people I love
The friends I can trust

I feel most like me
When I bask in the glory of my days
When I laugh like my grand kids
Who add sparkle to my face
When happiness reflects in my eyes
And my heart exults with pride

I feel most like me
When random memories make me smile
When rain drains away emotional dust
That gathers unawares
When my grand son hugs me tight
And whispers… ‘I love you’

I feel most like me
When my words flow like a streamCloudy sky
When my reflections are understood
And touch somebody’s heart
When I have all the time in the world
To look at the stars

I feel most like me
When I am in my comfort zone
When I feel free to take decisions
That I know would be respected
When gratitude percolates within me
And peace pervades around

I feel most like me
When I listen to my inner voice
When I am unaffected by criticism
And stay calm in my heart
When I refuse to be manipulated
And can listen to divine within.
© Balroop Singh

You can Click here for more poetry.

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Past Or Present – What Is Your Choice?

Past or present?
While it is natural to think about the past, which holds our memories and mistakes and inspires us to learn from them to move ahead, living in the present is the most worthwhile experience.

Living in the present moment, far away from the broodings of past and the apprehensions of uncertain, unpredictable future is so prudent, practical and sensible. Yet we keep drifting back and forth, seeking solace in the past memories and living in the illusionary world of future.

Why do people dwell in the past?

  • Stressful events of the past cling to us, making us think what went wrong, who was at fault.
  • Guilt doesn’t dissolve till we have ruminated enough, fixed responsibility or found a solution.
  • Negative thoughts are more powerful and require extra energy to dispel them.
  • Some hurtful memories keep haunting us.
  • Some shocking discoveries about the family could be difficult to forget.
  • Emotional distress takes a longer time to heal.

If you too get mired in the regrets and hurts of the past, I must tell you that I have not come across a better description of living in the present:

“I lit the candles and said out loud, “what am I waiting on? Someone to sell them in a garage sale for a quarter after I die?” And it was beautiful. And the smell was even more incredible than I remembered.”–Paula Heller Garland

Whenever abrasive past stands before me, I talk it out of my mind. I write a poem on the shadows of past and bury this demon with more words.

I savor the present moment. This is the only asset in our hands. Live it happily. Give your best to this moment for you will cherish it tomorrow.

I have always lived in the present, accepted the misfortunes, made peace with the disappointments, delighted in its little blessings, found happiness in whatever the present moment has offered and sat in the shadows of sadness to let the dark moments of my past pass by.Make peace with your past

Living in the present

  • Keeps us focused
  • Frees us from anxiety
  • Encourages us to put in our best
  • Makes us emotionally strong
  • Improves our mental health
  • Gives happiness that lasts

What prevents us from living in the present?

We are constantly judging ourselves, we keep talking to ourselves, finding fault with our decisions and disturb our own serenity of mind.

Past connects us with our present, which could be distressing due to our own faults.

It also depends on the kind of personality we have. Some people are brooders. They are prone to negative thinking. Doubts dominate their thoughts and anxiety flows in their veins. This anxiety ruins the little moments we could savor!

Research has shown that focusing on the past reduces the power of positive emotions.

It is very natural to think about the future and onerous to forget the past completely. Present stems from the past and steers us into the future. These links cannot be snapped. Perfectly fine! Don’t snap those links.

Living in the present doesn’t mean de-linking from the past or stop planning for the future. It just means protecting our mind from negative thoughts, leading a more meaningful life, staying focused on our goals, hoping for the best and be happy.

 “If you are depressed, you are living in the past
  If you are anxious, you are living in the future
 If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
 –Lao Tzu  

Do you live in the present?  Do the ghosts of your past haunt you? Is the planning for future overwhelming?

Thank you for reading this. 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.