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

Imagery:
“The mental pictures created by a piece of writing: “The imagery of “TheWaste Land”: (crumbling towers, driedup 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!

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.

5-star Book Review for Balroop Singh’s “Emerging from Shadows”

I had to share this as Deborah’s creative presentation of the review of my book is filling my heart with gratitude!

Her succinct style of appreciation is thrilling as well as heart-warming.

Thank you for your kind words Deborah!

BowmanAuthor and Writer/Editor

Balroop Singh's Book Review, incomplete, 3-18-18

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Dark #writephoto

dark-hills

When Night Fairy descends
Decked in dark shimmering robes
Disseminating light and love
We look at the moonless sky
Whispering symphony of lullabies.
© Balroop Singh

Inspired from Sue Vincent’s #photoprompt. Thank you dear friend.

If you have liked this poem, please share it at your favorite social networks.
Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Love That Comes Back

Love returns if it is pure

‘Can you change the music Nana?’ my three-year-old grandson spoke very softly.

The music that plays in my car is always of my liking, soft, romantic and sentimental songs of the 50s and 60s that one could never get tired of.

‘You don’t like it?’

‘We can play it at some other time,’… his answer amazed me! For a moment I thought I was talking to a mature person.

I looked back and both my stars smiled at me.

The distance from their school to our home is hardly two miles and within that much time, they have to share their prattle and listen to peppy music too!

‘Nana, please put it loud,’ he keeps on requesting, oblivious of the fact that soft music would never seem loud.

‘We don’t listen to a very loud music, dear’ I say in my grandmotherly style but my advice goes unheard.

‘Daddy always puts it super duper loud!’ he proudly declares.

I rummage through the old collection of CDs lying in the glove box of my car and stumble upon a peppy mix.

‘I can’t hear anything,’ he says while I am still loading the CD.

‘Wait.’

A squeal hits the roof! Louder! The demand doesn’t wane.

We reach home even before a single song could be heard and in a moment everything is forgotten, with new puddles to jump into and splashing water all over, making bubbles and catching them, pushing and apologising till I announce lunch time.

Time passes by like a whirlwind and everyday we heave a sigh of relief when these express trains go home. The treasured moments we choose to spend with our grandchildren are special because they testify that love returns, empty nest fills again with glee and giggles. I love the expression on their faces when they softly whisper… ‘Nana I love you.’

Each stage of childhood is awesome, each milestone precious, each hug emits the love of the whole world and we are glad we can share it more than their parents who are rushing (like once we did) to meet the challenges of life.

When my children flew out of my nest, I was heartbroken, wondering what is left in life, as our lives seemed to be buzzing only with them.

Slowly we learned to live without them, trying to detach.

This is one of the poems I wrote at that time:

Wheel Of Time…

We search
Those tiny hands, which eagerly held us
Those dainty feet, which needed balance
Those lovely eyes, which emitted brightness
Those soft tears which needed endearment
Those fleeting moments that slipped by.

We take pride in
That unconditional love we shared
That eagerly sought guidance we treasured
That much needed support for each other
That joy of giving
That pain of separation!

We know
The wheel of time moves on
New bonds, new ties ignite
Moments fleet, memories drift, shadows glide
There is always hope
At the horizon we seek.

You search
The future, we search the past
The quest is common, perceptions differ
We soar with you, the flight is slow
We’ll be together
As past merges into future.
© Balroop Singh, 2003

Love comes back

We did soar with them, waiting, hoping and trying to peep into future, which is here!
Another poem that complements the older one:

Love Returns

We have found
Those tiny hands we searched
Those little feet that follow us
Those big eyes that beckon
Those angelic smiles to reckon

We take pride in
New love that is cuddlier
New bonds that clasp us
Delightful moments that glow
Rivulets of respect that flow

Now we know
If it pervades our souls
Love returns in another form
Detachment is just an illusion
It unlocks the secrets of delusion

Let’s not forget
Whatever you give comes back
Selfless and real love returns
Instill the value of love
Pour it in its purest form.
© Balroop Singh, 2018

Time for introspection!

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

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

Balroop Singh.