Author – Amit Singh Negi
Gone are the days when we used to queue in front of our English teacher for our recitation exam, memorising the poem in our minds, recollecting the difficult lines time and again, and poking our classmates to prompt the name of the poet. And as our turn arrived, we used to nervously interlock our hands close to our chests and throw up all the lines we’ve mugged. Some were lucky to get away with full recital of their poem, but most used to forget few lines and some rather unfortunate ones used to forget the poem completely!
This indicates that we were never taught how to enjoy poetry. For us, poems were just some tricky lines to be learnt by-heart. However, there were few occasions where we actually enjoyed poems without even knowing its meaning. We must all be remembering those early days when an elder used to recite poem to us with all those hand movements and gestures and we watched them with wonder, even trying to copy those movements and expressions. We used to love performing those poems and even practicing them.
In the good old days, we used to find ourselves surrounded by a crowd of relatives prompting us to recite a poem, happily we sang those lines dancing with movements, while everybody clapped and appreciated us. Apart from these childhood performances, we hardly lived poetry. Especially in India, the importance of subjects like Science and Mathematics are so overhyped that a subject like English Poetry never appeared to be charming to us, since both our parents and teachers (except the odd English teacher!) never encourage us to take poetry seriously.
We just passed through school rote learning a few lines of poems without actually knowing the message or understanding the wisdom they contained. We never come across the magnanimous power that poetry contains.
I can recollect a few memorable poems such as –
- Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
- All the World’s a Stage by William Shakespeare
- Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore
- Jhansi ki Rani by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan
- The Casuarina Tree by Toru Dutt
- Daffodils by William Wordsworth
- If…. by Rudyard Kipling
All of these verses contain tons of wisdom and spirit that will not only enlighten our intellect but also stir and touch our heart.
However, today in our mad race to achieve big success and fast, we have turned so busy, so materialistic that we have forgotten that we are members of human race. Being a human, we have more needs than just having a fat bank balance, an expensive house, flashy car, branded clothes, etc.
What we basically need is a few genuine moments of peace,
We want to be consumed by love,
Bribed by few phrases of romance,
Cry out heart out in silence of words,
And be motivated every time we fall down.
We want true freedom beyond all the bondages,
We desire to live a different life, in a different world altogether.
A place where money and appearance is not our goal,
Where things are simple and clean is our soul.
The power of poetry helps us in achieving it. It can be a great escape from the atrocities of our chaotic world. It’s more of a necessity than a choice which sustains the human element in us. We talk about a standard of living. There are various economic parameters which defines the standard of living in a country. However, data indicates that a person having high per capita income, good health and scoring high in all those parameters may not be happy at all!
For example, take the case of Robert Williams, the recently deceased great artist. He pulled off an awesome character of Mr. Keatings, in the classic “Dead Poets Society”. There he portrays an English teacher who spurs the hearts of young students with the power of poetry and its need in life. His performance was so natural even inspiring me to enter the world of poetry. He taught me “Carpe Diem”. However, it seems like he never meant those dialogues; had he inculcated even some of those lines in real life, he would not have ended into rehabilitation and finally ending his life in a suicide.
We have to remember that no matter how much high we reach, the amount of money we make or fame and power we get, we’ll still remain humans. Poetry is a basic human need just like air, water, clothing, family and education. Poetry is not just about rhyming lines, but it is an Understated Necessity!
Image sources –
Child enacting Rabindranath Tagore | Nagarjun – https://www.flickr.com/photos/nagarjun/
The Road Not Taken – Robert_Frost – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Frost
Dead Poets Society – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Poets_Society