How To Understand Poetry

Understanding Poetry
Poetry of Mother Nature


I don’t remember when I started liking poetry. Probably I was born with it or was fascinated by the lyrics of Mother Nature.

When I walk down my memory lane, one image looms large and that is how much effort one of our English professors used to put into explaining the poetry of Tennyson and Wordsworth. While the latter was relatively easier to understand, the former much more complex and obviously we didn’t like the one who was more challenging.

The real challenges came my way when ‘Paradise Lost,’ an epic poem by John Milton was not taught in the class (or if it was, I must be mentally absent) and even when it was discussed, it didn’t evoke any interest!

While prose can be an effortless reading unless it is stream of consciousness writing, poetry can become quite boring if we are not familiar with its techniques and tones.

Despite the tests and trails, I continued to like poetry and slowly discovered that it is a genre par excellence. It can say a lot through literary techniques, which only an admirer of Literature can understand. I still struggle to understand some subtle messages conveyed through simple words.

I have to read my blogger friend Bela’s poems thrice to understand the undertones that appear enigmatic initially. They also inspire ideas to compose another poem.

Ambiguous ideas in a poem provide a food for thought and chisel your creative skills.

Who has the time and the inclination to read and re-read a poem in this fast-paced world? Only poetry lovers do!

Another lovely friend Sue, who is a poet and a prolific blogger of amazing eminence inspires with her poetry.

Most of my blogger friends are elaborative when they share their reflections on my post. Whenever I post a poem, I get a lukewarm response and I often wonder – is it because of poetry?

Quickly my mind hurtles back, my interactions with teenagers get refreshed, all their expressions, yawns and glances stand before me, bringing those lovely memories of hate-love relationship we had with poetry…when we would try to convince each other why poetry is good or bad and how we could understand it better.

I am not an expert but I have figured out a few ways to understand poetry.Understanding Poetry

How to understand a poem:

All readers have their own approach and interpretation but how imagery is used defines a poem. Can you read between those special words to fathom their depth?

It is better to read slowly. Stop and ponder over at the word that seems simple but abstruse.

“If you’re curious, there is always something new to be discovered in the backdrop of your daily life,” says Roy T. Bennett. Be curious. Inquisitiveness and interest are two important elements that lead to our understanding of a poem.

Poetry can’t be scanned and understood like prose as the former demands concentration, attention and gentle reading.

If you read a poem in a hurry, you would miss the real meaning. Many times words are used as metaphors.

You have to be familiar with most common literary techniques like simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, alliteration and assonance.

Imaginative flights of poets can’t be predicted, we have to fly with them to figure out their proficiencies.

Critical analysis of a poem reveals the nuances of its theme, undertones and other signals, which remain hidden to a scanner.

Some poems are ambiguous. Probably they relate to the poet’s past or buried memory, which he wouldn’t like to reveal yet, give a vent to his emotions through writing.

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” – Leonard Cohen

Do you like poetry? Do you read a poem slowly?

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

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Balroop Singh.




The Emotional Aspect Of Grief, Which Later Became My Friend!


Grief…I have written a lot of poetry about this word, which ceased to be a word for me long back and became an ever-encompassing emotion, just like the threatening dark clouds, which refuse to break away without torrential rain.

I know this emotion is not individualistic. I know it is all pervading and agonizing but when it starts defining life for us at a very young age, it becomes a part of our personality.

That is how it assaulted me, devoid of any compassion with killer instinct to annihilate my existence.

I had to deal with it single-handed, finding excuses to hide away from it, putting up a brave front, denying its existence and even shoving it into the obscure corners of my mind.

We can do so when we are very young, burying our memories with the hope that they will remain repressed. Dwelling in the world of denial we move on, pursuing our dreams and basking in their glory.

Forgetting that no glory lasts forever. Oblivious of the reality that grief is an incessant stream that flows into our life time and again and brings all those boulders back, which we had discarded in the hope of never meeting again.

It is like an ember that keeps glowing in one corner of our heart, which keeps reminding that it is real, it is persistent, it cannot die.

How can you expect a child to grieve? A child who doesn’t even know this word, who is suddenly thrown into the sea and expected to swim!

How can you tell a child to shed tears and empathize with those who want to glorify grief?

‘How dare you smile or laugh’…people remind us and compel us to keep the grief alive in our heart.

I can recollect a feeling of emptiness, of loneliness, of guilt encompassing me, shrieking…keep that emotion alive. A reprimand arising out of my heart…dare you not abandon it!

Such is the way of the world or that is what I experienced. Moments of joy were snatched away not just by the dead, who left me behind but even those who were alive because they chose to live in sorrow.Grief quote

Grief is one emotion that can never be suppressed… I learnt this lesson in the prime of my adolescence; it is better to accept it, embrace it and conduct a meaningful dialogue with it.

Give it some time to let it percolate, assess your strength, build it further and emerge emotionally resilient. Only grief can do it. It is only in misery that we learn to become understanding. Our vibes of sensitivity become more functional. We become resistant to judgments.

We learn to live with it.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

After all the tears and heartbreaking moments of anguish, grief starts diluting itself and steps out. We just have to open the doors and windows to let it ease. Now it re-enters in a new form if we are ready to accept him like a friend.

When I befriended grief it started patting on my back, it sat with me to reassure that it would welcome joy. I was astounded that it too loved to break free. Now both of us enjoy freedom, soar with each other, laughter accompanies us and we have vanquished negative thoughts.

We pour our concerns and tears into poetry, which is all-absorbing and provides us with somber solace.

Grief is our best friend:

It acquaints us with our inner self.

It makes us ponder to understand its nuances.

It makes us wiser and more tolerant.

It reinforces our faith and strength.

It ennobles us.

It introduces us to joy, which lies in little, fleeting moments.

Have you found a friend in grief by accepting it? Do you like this new relationship? I would love to hear your views.

The above extract, adapted from my next book, which is in initial stages, may seem gloomy and out of place but grief is one word that surely touches our lives with its cold hand, at some stage of life.

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

Balroop Singh.


I Have Understood…



I have understood
The value of each tear
The pain of every reprimand
The depth of every sigh
Which deepens a relationship.

I have understood
The care of each moment
The delight of growing wiser
The sharing of those secrets
Leads to bonding of emotions

I have understood
The desire of birds to fly
The pride of perching high
The pain of separation
The joy of reunion

I wish I could also understand
Why relationships sour
Why friends turn hostile
Why emotions die
Why efforts to save them prove futile?

I know the day is not far
I know I have to explore more
Yes! I can see the mist retreating
My wisdom tooth is also almost upbeat
The weary wait is over and I retreat

My emotions have carried me too far
Its time to emerge from those caverns
And share what I have learnt…
Please wait!
© Balroop Singh.
This is a prelude to my next scheduled post, which I am holding till Friday. I know I don’t post on Fridays but you will understand when I share it. I am keeping the suspense and sharing this poem, which sums up my thoughts so succinctly about my next venture.

This is one of my earliest poems when I was just experimenting with this genre. You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems.

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

Learning To Control And Train Our Emotions

Emotional Cobwebs

This year I had a lot of free time to clear the emotional cobwebs and realized for the first time that emotions can go haywire if we don’t take care of them at the right moment.

Age is no criteria for learning, I reminded myself.

I learned to let go.

I learned to have minimum expectations.

I learned to forgive unconditionally.

I learned to introspect more.

I have spent enormous amount of time in understanding emotions, trying to calm them down and fine-tune them. Yet at times, they flow naturally, uncontrollably and intensely.

Emotions are like waves, which have to strike the shore to calm down and merge into the ocean. We can hardly control them but we can channelize them towards positive crannies.

When thoughts become erratic and negative, emotions get confounded. We need to pay attention to them the moment they give a shout. If we lock them away in our heart, they breed toxicity.

Suppressed emotions:

  • Breed negative thoughts
  • Shrink confidence
  • Magnify hatred
  • Break all channels of communication
  • Cause rifts and distances
  • Ruin loving relationships

The first step is to understand your emotions.

Understanding Emotions

Who pays any attention to this aspect? But we can be better equipped to handle them only through understanding them.

#Emotional emptiness:

When we feel our emotions are not being understood; when we have to plead for emotional attention and feel deprived and empty inside, such a stage is very painful. It may send us on an isolated journey to understand whether we are exaggerating our distress or are we over-emotional. Unless we deal with this feeling, the emotions may lead us to the perilous path of irrational attitude, arrogance and even narcissism.


It is essential to introspect, open all the channels of communication and discuss the issues, which have been bothering you. I know, it could be very challenging but you have to keep your calm. Give the other person an opportunity to express his/her thoughts. Respect their perspective and trust them with an open heart.


When we doubt the intentions of others, our imagination can really get agitated and drive us into the realms of unknown boundaries, which can be easily leaped across.

Our own people create misunderstandings as human DNA carries the stimuli to doubt, which is often carved in our mind by others. If our emotions are controlled by doubt, we can become prejudiced. We may fall an easy prey to the manipulations of others and our logical mind may get clouded.


Doubt is the oldest enemy… keep that thought alive. Don’t get carried away by the viewpoint and judgment of others. Give your relationships a benefit of doubt and bring all your problems to the table. Share your concerns, discuss them with an open mind and give expression to your doubts, it will make you feel better. Once we train our mind to drop our doubts, our relationships improve drastically.


Like love, dislike too is a natural emotion, which slowly degenerates into hatred. It stems from other negative feelings like jealousy, greed and power. It gains prominence when it is fanned by the urge to be more successful than your friends, siblings and competitors. The person you hate may not even know the reasons but hostility sends negative vibes, which harm us more than the other person.


We all can’t be spiritual and let those moments of hatred seep into our body and mind calmly. It is all the more challenging at a young age. We tend to become negative and angry; forbearance comes slowly with intense efforts of nurturing the positive emotions of compassion, mindfulness and inner peace. Please note that this emotion is the most difficult to expunge. We have to work harder and longer.


Emotionally sensitive people feel guilty even if they are not directly involved in the little mistakes they might have made in the past. Whether it is talking rudely, mistreating a younger sibling, disrespecting your parents or colleagues or neglecting your parental duties, guilt eats into the vitals of our body slowly, robbing us of our happiness and peace. It is therefore very essential to learn from guilt and move on.


If you have any guilt about any past actions, it is prudent to let it go. If you feel the need to apologize for those intentional or unintentional acts, the sooner you do, better it would be for your mental health. “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Cultivate emotional resilience:

At a young age, our immaturity at handling various emotions has to be mentored softly and subtly. In the absence of a good mentor, it takes us a long time to cultivate emotional resilience, which is guided by the struggles and setbacks of life.

This year most of my emotions merged into my writing, which is so permeable that it can slowly disseminate them into their right chasms. This year I have become emotionally resilient, to a greater extent.

Have you trained your emotions? I would love to hear your views.

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

Balroop Singh.

Do You Aspire for Appreciation?

ImageWhat do people aspire for?

More food? More money? More dreams? More fun? More happiness?

Aspirations are endless…and appreciation can be placed at the top of the list, if you see yourself as a successful individual.

Do you have an attitude of appreciation?

Do you ever think about this word? Yes I can see that nod but my question is related more to your attitude and interpretation of this exquisite emotion.

Appreciation is not just expressing gratitude; it is slightly different from being thankful for a good gesture or magnanimous outlook.

Appreciation is the recognition of somebody’s good work or qualities that you admire. It is all about understanding the qualities of a person and expressing your admiration by articulating your true emotions about him/her.

It is depicted through the words you choose, the vibes you emit and the body language you exhibit.

While appreciation is our emotional need, it doesn’t come effortlessly.

We all like to receive it but when time comes to give, our minds gets clouded by envy, jealousy and spite.

True appreciation ennobles us:quote_331

  • It makes us more sensitive and understanding.
  • It builds healthy relationships.
  • It strengthens our bonds.
  • It enhances our self-esteem and confidence.
  • It boosts our morale and rejuvenates us.
  • It motivates us to work sincerely.

If appreciation is so good then why do we withhold it?

Human nature is designed in such a manner that we want all good things for ourselves. We give only when we have enough of them and appreciation is never enough!

The moment we hear a good word about somebody, even our dearest family member, we tell ourselves…‘I am better.’

How to cultivate Appreciation:

If you want to learn appreciation:

Look at the clouds hovering all around us; creating those romantic moods; inspiring us to pause and watch and wonder at the hues of Nature…‘so beautiful’… these words come out instinctively!

Look at the sunshine. I am sure you like cloudy days and you yearn for those lovely drops of first rain of the season but you can appreciate those dark, damp days only for a few days.

It is the sunshine that fills us with energy and enthusiasm. It is the winter sun that reminds us of that exclusive warmth we appreciate.

Look at the dawn…that fills the sky with a glow of new hope; that whispers sweet sounds of success into our ears; that satiates our desire to start again. Doesn’t it evoke the emotions of obligation?

Look at the winter landscape…the symbol of peace and contentment; that breathes serenity and calmness into our minds; that inspires a moment of spiritual bliss.

Look at life…the greatest gift of nature to celebrate; the slow and steady growth, which conjures smiles, love and tenderness.

Slide1This is appreciation… it never ends; it is like a perennial stream, gushing down naturally and effortlessly.

While gratitude is momentary, appreciation is eternal; it stays in our hearts to glow in our most precious hours.

It is that wonderful emotion, which William Wordsworth carried in his heart when he looked at the daffodils and they became ‘the bliss of his solitude.’

We learn all good things from our environment, family and social circle. The sensitivity of people around us reaches us spontaneously.

Only lingering cold weather makes us appreciate summer. Dark corridors of life make us appreciate a glimmer of light and joy. It is only after suffering that we realize the gift of healthy life.

True appreciation is profound and ever lasting, like the one we have for our mother. It emanates from our hearts.

Don’t confuse it with gratitude, “which is a very short-lived passion that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object, unless it be still fed with fresh discoveries, and kept alive by a new perpetual succession of miracles rising up to its view.”—Joseph Addison.

Lets learn to appreciate more heartily, like you can feel this in your heart right now! Please appreciate my effort and tweet this post!

Do you have any such moments tucked away in your heart? You can share them here, right now.

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

Balroop Singh.