How Poetry Can Inspire and Mold Personalities #NationalPoetryMonth

Poetry inspires and ennobles us

Poetry reflects life in all its hues; it is the choice of words, which makes a difference to the thoughts and sentiments that poets share. It speaks of countless experiences and puts forward the essence of life, if you pay attention to the images through which poets communicate.

Poetry enables us to understand the finer nuances of life; it nurtures the most beautiful emotions of love, trust, acceptance and empathy. A poet teaches without forcing any philosophy as he just shares his reflections succinctly, leaving the rest to the imagination and understanding of the readers.

Poetry develops creativity, flexibility, interpretational skills and critical ability effortlessly. It makes you intuitive, only if you read it without any prejudices, learn to appreciate it and read it carefully.

Let me share some verses that have enriched my personality:

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?”

These lines from ‘Leisure’ by W.H.Davies have always stayed with me, a constant reminder to get down from the whirlwind of life and look at the flowers, the bees, the butterflies and dawn breaking at the horizon.

William Wordsworth’s wisdom made me understand that life is more than just earning and spending money. 
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” His poetry inspires us to lead a meaningful life and respect the spiritual link that connects man with nature and his supreme being.

John Keats defined beauty for me and nurtured my love for beautiful things that are mentioned in his poem ‘Endymion.’
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness;…but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Emily Dickinson’s poem helps us understand success:
“Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.”

Each line of my all time favorite poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling teaches profound lessons, 
“If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;”… It encourages us to take pride in ourselves, develop patience, stay upright in the midst of lies, don’t get agitated by others’ demeanor, follow your dreams but don’t let dreams master you and avoid pretentions.

‘I am the People, the Mob’ by Carl Sandburg inspires us to rise against exploitation and social injustice. Look at his passionate appeal:
“When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.”

Walter D. Wintle’s poem ‘Thinking has stood by me in the darkest moments, exuding light on the paths of life – a reminder that life’s battles are won by “the man who thinks he can.”
 “If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost a cinch – you won’t.”

 ‘Last Ride Together’ by Robert Browning inspires optimism.

‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost exhorts us not to regret the choices we make.

‘The Man He Killed’ by Thomas Hardy questions the futility of war, in which soldiers have to kill strangers just because he “Was out of work…” and happened to join infantry.

The Little Black Boy by William Blake says a lot with just one verse: “I am black, but Oh! my soul is white,”

I have mentioned just a few poems that have made a mark on my personality. Thank you for reading this. Do you have a poem in mind that has inspired you or conveyed a strong message? Please share your thoughts.

You can click here for more poetry.

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

Balroop Singh.

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What is Poetry? #NationalPoetryMonth

Moods of nature
Poetry of Mother Nature

There are more than ten thousand definitions of poetry, as each poetry lover and poet defines it differently. This time, in honor of NationalPoetryMonth, I have asked my blogger cum poet friends to define this art, which is deeper than thoughts…“thoughts that breathe, words that burn,” said Thomas Gray.

Poetry is hollow without emotions
Words just stare sans sheen
Soulful poetry tugs at heart
Wrapping words in sandpaper
Draping each emotion with electric élan
© Balroop Singh.

Poetry is a song
Also a painting serene or wild
Poetry is our dreams expressed
Also the stars and the moon
Poetry speaks my inner truth.
© Miriam Ivarson

Poetry is:
Your soul emptying itself
Touching lives with one breath
Your voice overcoming darkness
Raw, vulnerable and free
© Marie Kléber

Poetry is but a song, spoken in words
and played to melodies
heard only in the hearts of lovers,
forbidden and otherwise.
© Nonnie Jules

“Poetry is the one way to really express your inner thoughts and feeling and helps you to relate and understand others. It is the out-pouring of the soul.”
© Elizabeth Beetham

Poetry is my inseparable lover
At night I snuggle and slumber with her
A velvety couch of imagery is our dream
Of mystic lands beings and forms unseen
In the morning my eyes open to her beauty
In her silky tresses I thread myself furtively
Her kisses are words of ecstasy
Burning my skin as evanescent paper arduously
As she carves with the pen of immortality
She turns to ashes my poet’s frisk and folly
Turning my heart to lyrics of past life and mystery
Together we plough in the pasture of eternity

© Anita Bacha

The Magnitude of Poetry:
“Poetry is dead”
So some writers say
But listen closely please
To what I’m about to say
Poetry is ever written, everlasting
It will be around long after the doubters
Poetry is the view from the highest mountain
That makes us dizzy from the height
It’s the beating of our hearts
And the tapping of our feet
While we read the rhythm of the words
It’s the way it makes us feel
When it takes us to a grave
The taste in our mouths
When it describes a kiss
The smell of a wood stove
That heats a mountain cabin
And the warmth it makes us feel
It’s that childlike memory
Of your favorite nursery rhyme
And the dreams we had of Santa Claus
When it was nearing Christmas time
It’s the smile on our faces
When we find a perfect rhyme
A glimpse of Heaven as we read
About Saint Peter’s gate
It’s the lyrics in a song
That we never can forget
Music in the words
That puts a song in our hearts
It’s a painting in our minds
That we see because of words
The magnitude of poetry
Is deep within our hearts
Even deeper in our souls
It makes us laugh
Makes us cry
Makes us smile
If only for awhile
And so I say to you
“Poetry is dead?”
Not as long as I can read
Nor as long as I can write
As long as there is ink in my pen
And blood flows through my veins
My poetry will never die
Even after I am gone
My poetry lives on
And that
Is the magnitude of poetry
© The Tennessee Poet

I am thankful to all the poets who have defined poetry in such beautiful words.

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

You can click here for more poetry.

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

Balroop Singh.

Gratitude and Gifts

Gratitude

                                                Inundated by friendly mail
                                                 I sat, staring at the gale
                                     That whooshed through your words
                                            It empowered my thoughts
                                             And impelled me to soar

                                        Its time to express my gratitude
                                        For the inspiration, the poetry,
                                          The reflections you shared
                                      Even those who just clicked ‘like’
                                        Filled my heart with delight.

                                               As the curtain falls
                                         On National Poetry Month
                                     I gift two eBooks, as promised
                                     To those who spoke in verses
                                   While sharing their deliberations

                                            Only a few ventured
                                         Making my decision easy
                                 My gifts go to Miriam and Pamela
                                  Pam surprised me with her knack
                                    Of creating magic on the track.
© Balroop Singh

Winners please check your email or twitter message box for claiming your gift.

Thank you for your support and contributions, much appreciated.

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

Symbolism And Imagery In Poetry #NationalPoetryMonth

Symbolism and words
Poetry banks heavily on literary devices to make a mark on the reader’s mind. A poem that doesn’t touch the heart loses its appeal, which is enhanced with imagery and symbols.
Symbolism:
“Symbolism is the art of using an object or a word to represent an abstract idea. An action, person, place, word, or object can all have a symbolic meaning.”

Poets have used ‘Sun’ as a symbol for light and hope. Even a setting sun is glorified as it leaves with the promise of rising next day with new possibilities to explore.

There can be no better example than the following lines from ‘Auguries of Innocence’ by William Blake, loaded with symbols:

“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”

I think after the simple example of sun, you  can spot the symbols in the above lines. When the poet uses ‘world’ for a grain of sand, he wants you to extend your imagination to its wilder limits and by seeing ‘heaven’ in a wild flower, he wants to convey the elation that one could feel at the sight of natural beauty.

Look at the following poem, composed by my blogger friend Miriam, in which symbolism stands out in perfect harmony with her thoughts:
Thanks to Miriam for sharing her poem.

SOARINGLY

Two herons fly
love and life in harmony
wisdom and purity,
Wingtip to wingtip they soar,

Perfection;
Thus to fly, what would we see below,
on our planet of beauty and wealth?
marred by rivers of sadness,
of people dispossessed, broken;

What blessing would it be,
so to float, in unity above;
unrestricted.
Above strife and savagery.

The herons glide down,
gracefully land;
among the reeds by the lake.
Fishing, resting,
Meeting their tribe.

Are they simply like us?
a different embodiment,
With advanced spirituality.
© miriam ivarson

Herons are used as symbols in the above poem to convey a profound idea of harmony and unity that human beings crave for.

Imagery:
“The mental pictures created by a piece of writing: “The imagery of “The Waste Land”: (crumbling towers, dried up wells, toppled tombstones) conveys the author’s sense
of a civilization in decay.”

Imagery creates mental pictures and we can visualise the scene through the words. When William Wordsworth says: ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills’… he carries us along, we immediately get transported to an open area and a picture of sky opens before us.
Imagery stirs our senses.

Types of imagery

Visual imagery appeals to our eyes and is most commonly used in poetry. In the following lines, Robert Frost has mixed visual and auditory imagery to convey the thoughts of traveller’s horse and remind him that the weather was too bad to stop in the middle of the woods:

“He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.”
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

The following lines exemplify auditory imagery:
“But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.”
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The following lines show organic imagery, bringing out the emotions and hunger of the poet:
“If each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
If You Forget me.”
– Pablo Neruda

Figures of speech like metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration and assonance are mixed with imagery to enhance the beauty of poetic language.

One of my blogger friends, Radhika, who considers herself “an infant poet” who started her “odyssey with words,” with her blog has shared a poem, which uses the most powerful images like ‘smoky conversations’ and ‘frozen whispers.’

WINTER12a697cba0387228f381470e1466afd4

The air pregnant with the northern winds
embraces the earth with a shivering hug
kisses the dull morning sky with a misty spell
under the blanket of the opaque fog.
A witness to this winter morning ritual
the coy and shy flowers smile tenderly
the gentle rays of the sun peeking
through the stale grey clouds
creating gleaming patterns of mosaic
on the landscape painted in a monochrome.
Buried greenery, frosted pathways
lashing winds, chattering teeth,
smoky conversations and frozen whispers,
It’s time to enjoy the seasonal beauty
that winter brings along!
© Radhika

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!

You might also like: How to Understand Poetry

How Poetry Makes us Positive Minded

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.

Interesting Facts About Poetry – Old and New #NationalPoetryMonth

Poetry inspires
Poetry as an art form predates literacy. The earliest poetry is believed to have been recited or sung, employed as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy, and law. Poetry is often closely related to musical traditions, and the earliest poetry exists in the form of hymns.

Historical facts about poetry:

Poetry appears among the earliest records of most literate cultures, with poetic fragments found on early monoliths, rune stones and stele. (a stone or wooden slab)

Scholars suggest that early writing shows clear traces of older oral traditions, including the use of repeated phrases as building blocks in larger poetic units.

The oldest surviving speculative fiction poem is the ‘Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor’ written in Hieratic and ascribed a date around 2500 B.C.E.

Greek epics lliad and Odyssey and the Indian Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are the oldest epic poems.

The development of literacy gave rise to more personal, shorter poems intended to be sung. These are called lyrics,which derives from the Greek lura or lyre, the instrument that was used to accompany the performance of Greek lyrics from about the seventh century BC onward.

The development of modern poetry is generally seen as having started at the beginning of the 20th century and extends into the 21st century.
(Source: Wikipedia)

What comes first – thought or title?

Another question, which has always haunted me is what comes first- the title or the content? I have never written with a title in my mind. The flow of thoughts has always been supreme in my mind.

Some of my poems remain untitled for many days and I have to struggle to decide the title.

Robbie agrees with me… “I let the words flow or fit themselves together first. Often the poem comes into my mind and almost unfolds by itself with little intervention. I think of a title afterwards.”

Wendy also agrees: “I never chose a title first. In my published poetry books there are no titles. The poems are sequentially numbered. Emily Dickinson is a poet who did not title a lot of her poetry. Her early editors titled a handful of her poetry.  In general, I am not certain what I am writing about until the poem starts brewing in me, and then I am looking for paper and a pen, which I usually have with me. I have many poems that were written on napkins, bar coasters, or whatever I could find if I did not have paper with me at the time.”

For Ritu, “It really depends on why I am writing a poem. If it is a response to a prompt the title may come to mind first. The topic is already there. If it is a time when words are pulsating and need to flow onto paper, then I will write my poem first and then title it after.”

Miriam lets the title be the first words. At times I just see the title and may be first line. I rarely search for a title.”

Radhika says: “thoughts flow in and my fingers pen them down. At times the flow is spontaneous like the gurgling brook. While at other times the thoughts ebb in a gentle flow. I enjoy flirting with different genres of poetry. With micro poetry like haiku and tanka, I take care to use words that create an impact within the limitation of syllables. Otherwise, my poems are simple and lucid, reflecting my musings, beliefs, emotions or the bewitching beauty of nature. After completing a poem, I try to bring out it’s essence in the title.”

Poetry writing is a natural gift, which can be nurtured and embellished. Poets are born!  Most of the poets find inspiration in nature and human nature.

Emotions reign supreme in most of the poetry, which slowly matures and becomes complex.

Poetry may or may not start with what we feel about us or others but it definitely takes us into a journey of self-realization. We have amongst us one such spiritual poet, Wendy E. Slater.

Today I am going to share her untitled poem:

Wendy-new
Wendy E. Slater

I would never
Build a monument
In your name,
But I will plant
A forest in your honor
To seed the love and life
We share
Into all.

And it will be called
To us:
Our terrain,
The map of our geography—
Exquisite intimate landscapes sculpting
Love.

And to others
It will be something
Like the sacred forest
Where the genesis of the beloved
Will awaken
In them
When they walk the path.

There will be wildflower
Meadows
That will have seeded
In our hearts,
And the warbler, hawk, and owl
Will come
To rest and live
In song, wisdom, and sight
As we will have
Lived our journey in grace.
©2016 Wendy E. Slater

Wendy E. Slater has three published books of modern mystical poetry, Into the Hearth, Poems-volume 14, Of the Flame, Poems-volume 15, and The Ocher of Abundance, Poems-volume 16, that are part of her poetry series, The Traduka Wisdom Poetry series. The poetry chronicles the inner journey of self-discovery and Divinity and opens doors for readers and invite them on their own spiritual journey of awakening and healing into self-forgiveness.  All the poetry can be found on her website:  traduka.com/poetry or Amazon. She can found on twitter @WendyE Slater.

 A reminder: I would be gifting two ebooks –  Sublime Shadows Of Life, my debut poetry 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.