I am a poetry buff. I love poetry, not as a writer or a critic but as a normal reader who appreciates the rich imagery and brevity of words. A few words are magically woven together and it soars in the blue sky of imagination like a winged word.
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words,” said Robert Frost. Avid readers are always mesmerised by the joy of rhyming lines, almost lyrical, and the unsaid nuances between the lines. They go beyond prose.
Poetry has always struck a chord with young minds who are at an impressionable age, especially when teachers have explained meaning and interpretation in class. We remember vividly imagining a host of golden daffodils on a hill when Asha ma’am introduced Wordsworth to us in high school.
Memorising those textbook poems was another story! Secondary School leaving exams of yore had the tortuous method of memorising poems to be reproduced on exam sheets complete with the punctuations. It must be revenge against this cruelty that people my age hate poetry with a vehemence.
What does poetry stand for in this new world?
“I have written some poetry, I don’t understand myself,” said Carl Sandburg. Even hard-core readers do not have the patience for poetry due to its ambiguity. They chuckle, “Just throw a stone and it will hit a poet!” What is there to retort? All of us have indulged in writing some bad poetry.
Poetry is probably the most popular creative exercise in the world; not everyone writes a short story, a novel, or paints a painting, but everyone writes a poem. Remember the four lines you scribbled on your first mother’s day card or Valentine’s Day card?
Some of my friends fall into the category of people who simply do not see the meaning of poetry. Moreover isn’t it all just prose cut up into lines? It’s pretty hard to beat that kind of logic, especially when it is partly true. Of all the major arts, poetry is understandably the most unpopular. Not to mention unprofitable. People who write poetry after a certain age called adolescence are seen as dandelions swinging in the breeze, shedding white wisps of hair and spaced out.
The publication of poems in the newspapers is rare. They are relegated to the side tracks of children’s magazines, that too under the pretext of encouraging creativity and imagination. The only people who are content to write and read poetry are those intensely private ones, who do so out of an internal yearning to feel intensely and individually.
A painting that speaks
Paraphrasing Kahlil Gibran’s famous lines, between what is said and what is not, so much is meant. Poetry is like freedom from the cage of a reader’s mediating mind. You can shroud your stories in a few meaningful words and it’s really interesting to see the myriad interpretations the audience comes up with.
The trapped voice in my head intones poems these days. I am on a mission of #APoemADay to publish a collection at the end of 365 days. It’s an ambitious 2021 New Year Project and I am lingering around 36 numbers, but poetry writing has given me a freedom that other genres of writing have not stimulated.
Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte are famous poets of yesteryear and their poems have a finesse of craftsmanship that has cleverly chosen the words and filled them with vibrant impressions. It’s an amazing feat and someday, I hope to pin my pieces in that wild haven of poetic musings.
“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood,” said TS Eliot. Someday, I hope to set that kind of poetry in motion and enjoy every moment of it.
Feby Imthias is a writer based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @Feby_Imthias