Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Magic Of Poetry.

A bit of spring cleaning done over the last week, in view of the coming festive seasons, turned up something unexpected. Lying inside an old, dusty and out-of-shape box in my store room was a scrapbook containing poems which I had written a lifetime ago, when I was a boy.

Looking through them brought back memories of a time long gone. The places and neighbourhoods that I grew up in - changed beyond recognition by modernisation, and the childhood friends that, for one reason or another, have drifted apart and lost contact with. It reminded me of what it was like to be a child - innocent, naive, full of hope and optimism and also, the regret of passing into adulthood. How I missed those simple childhood days!

Days spent flying kites and playing marbles, hunting for fighting spiders, catching fish and grasshoppers and the wonder of puppy love for the girl with the twin pleated long hair. So, what is it about poetry that, through a few simple sentences, is able to evoke such feelings?

Poetry, meaning "I create" in ancient Greek, is a human language art form and is a powerful way of expressing feelings and ideas. Like art, the beauty and magic of poetry lies in the eye of the beholder and is subjected to different interpretations. It is intangible, an act of self-discovery and defines deep feelings and emotions. It is intense, captures distilled perceptions and is personal and unique to its author.

Poetry has the ability to take us on a journey, to places we have never been before. It is everywhere - in nature, in the moment we look into the eyes of those we love, in the depth of one's soul, in our memories and in the flashes of our childhood.

Poetry is there for you to contemplate - "It is as it is."

my tears
were dried
by you
but no

i loved you
but no

my mind
is full
of you.

as a
but a
long lost
- My Den (circa1971)

Night time is overtaking me
as daylight falls behind.
My life is slowly losing
the sparkle and shine.

A life filled with promises
and empty bottles of wine.
This loneliness is beginning to
encloak me,
I've lost all sense of time.

Self-pity overwhelms me,
I've begun to lose my mind.
While death is overtaking me
and daylight falls behind.
- My Den (circa 1976)

"A poem begins with a lump in the throat, a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where the emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words." - American poet Robert Frost

*For more poetry of startling originality :
- The Eye Of A Poet by Billy Collins
- Each Happiness Ringed By Lions by Jane Hirshfield
- View With A Grain Of Sand by Wislawa Szymborska
- The Best Poems Of The English Language by Harold Bloom

*Related post : The Joy Of Writing.


Meghna said...

You have described poetry wonderfully and also provided a beautiful poem on mother.

My Den said...

Hi meghna,
Glad you enjoyed that piece. Through this post i also realised, sadly, that i will not be able to write this poem now. Guess we all lose something as we grow up. Innocence, perhaps?

Thanks a lot for dropping by and there should be further reproduction of my childhood poems along the line. Take care.

Kaizen said...

There is little adult within a child; should the child remain within an adult let it shine with an innocent splendor, for love, for life, for embracing the beauty of diversity and the sharing of ideas with civility.

What touches the Heart, Reaches the Heart and certainly your site and content reaches my heart.

I noticed that meghna posted-Guess we all lose something as we grow up, innocence, perhaps?

Meghan has a point, perhaps it's true especially for survivors of child-abuse, lost innocence-stolen innocence. However some of the most profound and touching poetry comes from the darkness-from victims to victors, getting in touch with the inner-child in and all itself is peotry in motion-at any age.

Natalie said...

I spent yesterday organizing old family photos and some of my mother's old papers. I came across a poem she had scribbled on a piece of paper on January 15, 1975 (or so, the date was hard to read, though month and year are clear) which had apparently been photocopied for some reason. I know it was a time in her life where things were hard and not likely to ever get better. Running a google search on this poem it turned out to be your "Emptiness."

Not knowing her to be much of a poet or artistic type as well as never having found anything similar in her things, I thought you'd like to know that it obviously touched her.

My Den said...

Hi Natalie,
Sorry for the late reply.

I am glad that something written more than 30 years ago has found resonance with your mum. Hope it provided her with some comfort.

Thanks a lot for popping by and letting me know.

Take care.