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.

How to Nurture Love for Poetry #NationalPoetryMonth

Symbolism and words

Poetry is said to be good for the soul, as it soothes our emotions, helps us dig deeper into  thoughts and dreams and makes us discern the aesthetic pleasures around us. If you avoid poetry and prefer thrillers, probably you have never been exposed to the love of reading a good poem.

Nurturing the love for poetry starts in childhood. If you are a parent, read a poem everyday with your child. Ask the child what s/he likes about that poem. If the child likes it, don’t hestitate to read it everyday but add another one. Begin with simple and short poems.

Encourage your child to collect little poems and make a scrapbook. You can browse poems for kids online. Think about your favorite poets and poems you liked as a child or as a youngster. Share those thoughts with your children or siblings. Discuss what makes you like poetry.

Encourage your child to write a short poem. Bette A. Stevens offers excellent guidelines for writing haiku (an unrhymed poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.)

Why is poetry disliked? Whenever this question haunts me, I try to look back to search some answers. The only poetry we were exposed to in schools, was the rhymes and that too in Kindergarten.

While reading story books is stressed upon but good poetry books are not easily available. Either they haven’t been written or their level is too high to be understood by children.

Some poems that we meet in textbooks fail to inculcate the love for reading of more poetry though ‘Mr. Nobody’ stayed in my thoughts and I love it even today.

Here is the fun poem: I wish more such poems could be written!

Mr. Nobody

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house!
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.

’Tis he who always tears out books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For prithee, don’t you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.

He puts damp wood upon the fire
That kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in mud,
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid;
Who had them last, but he?
There’s no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody.

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots,—they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.
– Walter de la Mare

Whenever a door squeaks, I think of Mr. Nobody!

Poems for children and middle schoolers have to be short and simple. The following poem by Robert Frost could speak to them if imagery is explained by the teacher:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
– Robert Frost

Love for poetry is also connected with how well the poems are taught by our English teachers. Some just read them and inspire children to analyze. While it may be good for developing critical thinking, discussions have to follow to share the opinion of others.

Creative writing workshops in schools that focus on poetry writing develop sensibilities at an early age. Do you have any memories of writing poetry in your school?

In honor of National Poetry Month, two of my poetry books are being offered for just 0.99 cents. If you love poetry, grab your copy now. Thank you. Please share this post at your favorite social networks.

Click to buy

Poetry
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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.

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Balroop Singh.

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.

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