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 Quotations Ennoble Us

A quote a day gives a new melody

If you are a regular reader of Emotional Shadows, you must have noticed that quotations form an important part of any post I share.

Sally G. Cronin, my author cum blogger friend has nominated me for three day quote challenge, which transported me back to one of the memorable moments of my life. Fond of collecting quotations, I had a notebook in which I would write one quote everyday. One day when our class teacher asked us to talk about our hobbies, I couldn’t say much and produced that notebook to save myself from that embarrassing situation. Her reaction surprised me. She took my notebook and promised to return it but she didn’t.

Next day I was summoned by the Principal. With great trepidation, I walked towards her room, wondering what had I done now, knowing well I was in for another punishment! I saw my notebook of quotations in her hand and was taken aback by her kind words of appreciation. The pride and encouragement that she infused in me doubled my love for quotations and writing them down most neatly.

A good quote is more than a book. It can leave a lasting impression on us… it can awaken aspirations, ignite the inspiration that lies dormant, it can connect us with great minds and their experiences, it can mold our perceptions and personalities.

Quotations have ennobled and enriched me.

It is hard to pick a quote as each one carries some profound truth about life yet we have our favorites.

My first pick has to be from my all time favorite poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling:

Quote from Rudyard Kipling's poem If

The above lines have adorned my table for many years and have inspired me:

  • To remain calm in provocative situations
  • To trust my abilities
  • To let people pass their judgment
  • To be patient
  • To respect my values
  • To listen calmly
  • To forgive those who tried to demean me

I have been a little rebel in breaking free from the rules. So the ‘three day quote challenge’ has been construed by me as ‘three quote challenge’ (just an interplay of words from left to right!) and I would like to share them together.

forgiveness quote

The above quote and many such have helped me reconcile to the whole idea of forgiving those who could have derived sadistic pleasure in enforcing their authority to establish their supremacy. I still read quotes about forgiveness to reassure myself that forgiveness purges us of any ill will that we may be carrying in our heart for those who were insensitive towards our emotional wellbeing.

Solitude

The above quote was a little puzzling for me but it has helped me in many ways:

  • In understanding the difference between loneliness and solitude
  • In introspection and self-reflection
  • In listening to the echoes of my heart
  • In resolving inner turmoil
  • In soaring on the wings of imagination
  • In enjoying my own company
  • In sky gazing when the clouds drift to reveal the rainbow.

Many thanks to Sally for nominating me for this challenge. It is customary to nominate some more friends for the challenge but I throw it open to all my readers who love quotations to write a post about their favorite quotes.

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

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

Balroop Singh.