Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Poetry- An Eternal Graffiti

Photo: Lorezo

Sometimes I feel positively medieval. Like how I miss the times when a man had to write in great details how he felt about the woman to win her heart or write elaborate letters. So quite understandably I find it very disheartening that nowadays people don't enjoy reading poetry as much as in olden times. I have wondered many a times why that is so..may be times have changed..time when love, pain, suffering, longing and anger needs to be conveyed through poetry have diminished greatly.

But even in this fast paced world there remain a few who yearn for the assurance of written words. Because even in these peaceful times, we are constantly fighting our own battles. Even now, when we want to be better than what we think we could be, we look for inspiration. We still look for stories, which conveys, "It's OK, you can do it".

Words have immense powers, and if someone said they are magical then it's not an exaggeration. In current times you wouldn't find a lot of people who would say that their life is changed because of a poem. But that was the power poetry held over humankind for a long time. Of course, across the world from sonnet to Ghazal the form varied but the essence remained same.

As a kid I used to read all the poems from school book even before the term began (although I didn't necessarily understand all of it). The most amazing thing about poetry is that some of them touches you so deeply that even after years, you still remember it word to word. To this day below lines haunt me..it's from a poem called "Lohe ka Swad" by Sudama Pandey

"lohe ka swad lohar se mat pucho…
uss ghore se pucho jiske muh mein lagam ha"

(Translation- Don’t ask a blacksmith about the taste of iron, but ask the horse who has it in his mouth…)

Unfortunately I have a terrible memory and could never remember all the poems. But every now and then I search for it and find a great solace in reading them. Someone once asked me which is my favorite poem and I spent a whole week trying to decide (to no avail). Although, there is something about "Invictus" which casts a spell on me every time I read it. And I am not the only one, throughout the history men of great deeds have drawn inspiration from this extraordinary poem written by William Ernest Henley. It is said that this was written as a demonstration of his resilience following the amputation of his foot due to tubercular infection.

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

Do you know what makes a literature immortal? It is a reader. Even after thousands of years, even if one person reads it, it brings the words back to life. Works like Ramayana and Mahabharata (which by the way is the longest poem in the world!) have survived these many centuries and passed on to next generation. I hope other works of literature survives too, just in case there comes a time when we rediscover it's potential.

You cannot force love on anyone, so if you don't like poetry well and good. But if you have never given it a try, I insist that you do that today. For as someone once said, poetry makes new things familiar and familiar things new...

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