Literary Shelf

How to Write Poetry?

Poetic Inspiration as the Crux of Creative Writing

How to write poetry? When does poetry come to? What to say about poetic inspiration? When it will, when it will not, how to put the unputdownable on paper, the things of the heart? Where will it originate from who can but say it? After reading good books, on getting inspiration, one may take to writing of poems. The love poems of Keats may inspire to some extent if one wants to begin as a love poet. But be prepared for hurts and wounds that love gives to. Love is also the cause of depression and frustration. Someone may after reading Wordsworth, his Lucy poems and others relating to nature mysticism so tranquil and ruffling sometimes. Whatever be that, reading is a must for to be a poet. The hanging clouds of Shravana and Bhadra, seconded with the longing of Yaksha for Yakshini in Kalidasa’s The Cloud Messenger, Meghadutam may also take the imagery from for dabbling in ink. Devdas’ love for Chandramukhi, how to put it in words? Only a lover can say it. Poetry is thought, idea, image, reflection, memory, remembrance. Poetry is sound, symbol and sign. Poetry is photography. It is very difficult to charter the course of poetry as because everything depends on the intensity of our feelings and emotions. The sentimental heart is itself a poet as sentiment and sensitivity go about in the making of a poetry-writer. If one is sentimental, one is bound to be sensitive and sensuous.

Where will poetry come from? How will it originate? Who to say it? The heart is the origin of all; the human mind the taker of the images to be stored in memory. But for to be a poet, inspiration is a must; the flight of imagination is essential. Someone must be there to inspire you whose shadow and music in  the background will boost you up always. Something is required to keep you going. What is that engages you for an expression? What does your mind and idea? What does your heart? Many a time you think it a lot, but expression comes to you not. When you want to express, poetry comes to you not, thought and idea, emotion and sentiment, image and reflection, memory and remembrance. Poetry is recollection, reminiscence, poetry is love and its sadness, poetry is transitional time and its emotional representation.

If you are a beginner, you need to read afresh, you need to start afresh as poetry will not come to naturally. Poetry inculcates in a lot of practice rhyming with line and length, thought and ideas. One generally begins with rhyme and rhythm. After that thoughts and ideas, styles and techniques, modes and patterns need to be delved deep and honed in. one requires to go through a lot of reading. One must read the books in the library, go through the newspapers taking a note of modern poetry and its contemporary part. There should be the desire within to rise high grappling with hazards and hassles to overcome them. The struggle and suffering of an evolving writer, how to say it, put it into words the pains and struggles of writing? What poetry will give to, what will it from writing creatively, none can say it. Even the poetry editor of a magazine cannot say it. What is it poetry going to pay?

One generally starts from picking good words, old and archaic words. The morn, eve, daybreak; hut, hamlet, chapel; river, brook, hill, dale, valley; orchard, country, pastoral panorama; sunshine, moonshine, daylight, noon-time; green wood, wild vegetation; mind of man, human heart; light, darkness; humour, realism, romance, imagery; landscape, photography, scenery; horizon, space, metaphysics, mass, matter; environment, ecology; dialect, diction, custom, manner; mist, fog, dew; rock, stone, tree; church, temple; myth, motif, rite, ritual; religion, faith, doubt; shepherd, pasture, greenery; meditation, contemplation, brooding; metre, measurement, line, length; time, clock, consciousness; cemetery, crematorium, dead land, waste land; moon walk, alien landing, astronomy, palmistry; theology, hollow man, hollow living; modern man, modernism, modernist temperament; romanticism, fancy, colour, dream, imagination; melancholy mood, pensive brooding, despair, dejection, despondence; disease, death, funeral rites; stylistic approach, modernity, urbanity, etc. are the poetic words to paint the mood and reflection of any creative artist.

There is nothing as impossible, a man becomes as he thinks. Poetry is poetry, words, pictures, signs and symbols; thoughts, ideas and reflections, all combined in one under a pattern, a model or structure. Poetry can be the love of flowers, juhis, chamelis, bellis, mogras, champas, kachnars, gandharajas, raat-ranis, malatis, kaaminis; Indian jasmines maddening you with sweet redolence, fragrancing you with odour. A lily, white, bluish, red or pink may be the theme of a poem; a lotus pink or white so soft and gracious colouring and discolouring in the light of the sun. What to say about a red rose refreshing the memory of Robert Burns and his poem My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose and Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Forget Not Yet, Edmund Spenser’s One Day I Wrote Her Name. Roses are connected with Valentine’s Day, the things of the heart. Poetry as the amaltas tree in bloom with the yellow-yellow golden garden-like flowers hanging by the branches and twigs, the wild palasha decorating the highland hills with the reddish clusters of ornate blooms, the simul Indian tree standing nakedly like the palasha but with the bulging red blooms and the vultures seated upon the branches, the gulmohar tree wearing the splendidly red clusters of blooms like a shy, coy Indian bride in a satin-brocaded red silken embroidered Benarasi sari beating the heat and dust of Indian summer and the blackly cuckoos cooing from sweetly from the shades. A kaamini in bloom with the tiny blooms fallen and littered around, but heavily scented, how to take to? A seuli plant tree, with the tiny specks of flowers, blooms so sweet and fanciful littering around, frangrancing the passers-by spell-bound. So are the white gandharajas, so raat-ranis, night-queens, the champas golden and white, the rajanigandhas, grassy plant stalked blooms. Champa, Chameli, Belii, Juhi, Seuli, Rajanigandha, etc. are the names of the Indian belles and beauties. Suppose, just suppose you, Red Rose is standing before you as a bud of Kashmir, white and reddish, roseate beauty, suppose, just suppose you, Rajanigandha as a slim and fair extraordinarily beautiful is standing before you! The heart will definitely sing, whistle a love song on seeing the strange maiden met on the railway flyover or while crossing the town square. A Burqawalli hidden in all black passing through the railway platform flyover may also be the subject of a poem. Red Rose, Rajanigandha, may be personified and the poems written on them in the form of an address. It is Nature, the natural objects which have always lured, fascinated the mind and heart of man with the myth and mystery of its own folding and re-folding, lying unresolved. The night full of stars and the glowworms glimmering have always appeared to be a mystery. How to resolve these phenomena?

There are different themes and things on which poetry can be written; trends and tenors; patterns and modes of writing and it all depends on the man taking and delving to peruse. It is matter of personality as well as impersonality in art. What one perceives, suffers, struggles and transmutes personally and impersonally. Poetry writing is an art. It depends on one’s own sense and sensibility. How the poetic sense taking to and communicating with orally and in writing? What one receives emotionally may also get lost while putting it down. While writing Kubla Khan Coleridge got disturbed, interrupted by the guest and the lines missed from being transcribed and the poem could not be finished, remained incomplete. The kronch birds in love troubled the poetic heart of Valmiki as the hardhearted falconer killed them brutally one by one and poetry gushed forth.

As everything is but is a sadhna of some sort so is poetry. Poetry is one of the fine arts, or say poetry is a representation of all. Can Bapu be not a subject of photography, song, dance, drama, poetry, philosophy, novel, short story, anecdote, narrative, sculpture, fashion and designing? A poem can be about Gandhian studies and peace studies, India culture, can be about Gandhists and Gandhians national and international, regional and local, can be about his life, biography and autobiography. Small children dressed as Gandhi in handloom-woven Khadi clothes, shawl, dhoti and round specs, sandals and lathi on his birth anniversary may take us poetically. A poem may be about the life-size statue of Gandhi. The half-naked fakir going to attend the Round Table Conference in London may be a historical figure or a politician totally different to be taken from the poetical point of view. Poetry is pictures and photographs; poetry is memories and recollections. Poetry is random reflections. Binoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement too may be the topic of a poem as he went asking for to donate lands to the poorer people.

What inspires whom and when, how to say it? Poetry as the philosophy of life and the world and life as the philosophy of poetry. Poetry as the criticism of life, as Matthew Arnold has opined. The poet as a philosopher and his poetry philosophy is the truth, philosophy his poetry. And what philosophy to give? Theism, atheism, agnosticism, nihilism, existentialism, hedonism, Vedism, Upanishadism or Advaita Vedanta? Whom to follow, Adi Shankaracharya, Nagarjuna, Bhartrihari, Gorakhnath, the Bauls, the Nagas, the American transcendentalists, the Zens, the Lamas; Osho, Rajneesh, Freud or Lawrence? Gautam Buddha, Lord Mahavira or Zarathusthra? Where to go to, to the Dargahs of the Pirs, the Sufi saints? To the Tiger Temple? Where to seek refuge, in the Satya Sai, John Paul II? To ISKCON Society? The Beats and the Beatles, we have not forgotten them, the Hare Rama, Hare Krishna Movement. Poetry as sadhna is the thing. Poetry born out of sadhna is our discussion. India the land of sadhus and sadhakas, how to dismiss it? Where Trailanga Swami, the great hathayogi doing hathyoga on the ghats of Benares? Where Ramanand and his shisya, Kabira? Kabira lying on the ghats of Benares and Ramanand touching with his feet unknowingly and the lips uttered it Ram-Ram and with these words he got gnan, guru-gnan.

Where to go? Poetry is knowledge and wisdom, the widening horizon of studies. Where to go to? To England, America, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Canada; France, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Russia? To Spain, Portugal, Sweden? To Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Cambodia, Myanmar? Sometimes the spirit of Marco Polo, Columbus, Vasco da Gama takes us far away and we want to dwell far just like the mariners, voyagers, shipmen and merchants. The air hostesses of different countries telling of different climes and weathers, dresses and complexions lift us romantically to be with them in alien domains of tours, travels and journeys. If tour we not, how will we be able to understand the differences? How their tongues, food-habits, cultures, manners, climates and geographical conditions, dresses, standards of living? Should we about Siberia? Or, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Chechnya, Armenia? Do we want to go global? Is it cosmopolitanism, globalism that is drawing us nearer, closer to?

Should it be America or somewhere else for travel and tour experiences? New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, Miami, Orleans, Baltimore, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Kansas City or Oklahoma? Statue of Liberty, who gifted it and why, whose the design and the metal craft? It has a history of its own which but the reader or the on-looker can say it.

Should we turn to Indian philosophy, cosmology, theology, metaphysics, religion, faith and belief? What is Brahmanda? What is Om? How was the world created? What the relation between You and I? What about the Mind, the Over Mind, the Soul, the Greater Soul? The relationship between the Self and the Greater Self, how to debate it? The song of Rama, the song of Krishna, how to sing it? How to enact the Ramlila, the Krishnalila?

How far Indian is Indian English poetry?, is not the thing of my concern nor do we want to take the ordeal. Anything put forth by an Indian or an Indian domiciled abroad or a foreigner writing about India is Indian. Have the foreigners not written about Indian culture and tradition? Are Goethe, Tolstoy, Max Muller, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman not there? Has William Radice not translated Madhusudan Dutt’s Meghnadbadh? Did Camille Bulcke not write about the Tulsi Ramcharitmanas? His Ph.D. thesis too was Ramkatha: Utpatti Aur Vikas (The Tale of Rama: Origin and Development). A poem can be about spoken English, about written English. How do they British speak? How do the Americans? How is Welsh speech? How the Irish variation? The influence of the French on Pondicherry, that of Portuguese on Goa, how to explain it? The Romas in Europe, how to explain their diaspora? A poem can be a pen-picture, a portrait in words. It can be an island imagery with the ships sailing cargoes and men on board.

A poem can be a picture of C.Rajagopalachari, Sachidanand Sinha, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlala Nehru, Abdul Kalam Azad, Dadabhai Naoroji, Mahadeb Govind Ranande.  A poem can be a portrait of Homi Jehangir Bhaba, Jagadish Chandra Bose, S.N.Bose, C.V.Raman, Vikram Sarabhai, Raja Ramanna. A poem can be about the visit of Aldous Huxley, Pearl S.Buck, Allen Ginsberg, E.M.Forster. It may also be about Edmund Burke’s speech in the House of Commons. One may write poetically about the translations of the Bhagavad Gita and their attempts. One may about the opening of the Sanskrit departments in foreign. Poetry is simply not poetry. It is all-encompassing. It can be about the milk miracle, Ganesha sipping milk and milk is vanishing when offered to the bizarre deity. History of Kashi, history of Prayag, who will tell it? A poem can be about T.S.Eliot’s The Waste Land and his use of Upanishadic words. One may write a poem about Aurobindo’s disciples, the Pondicherry Ashrama and his works Life Divine and Savitri. As the criticism of criticism can be done so is the poetry of poetry. Can one not write about the poetic style of E.M.W.Tillyard in a poem? Can one not write a poem about Wordsworth’s Prelude or Tintern Abbey? Has A.D.Hope not parodied many English poems? Has Kalidasa’s Shakuntala not charmed Goethe? Forster’s Vyom, Om in Maravar caves and Eliot’s Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata and Shantih shantih shantih have also won our acclaim and admiration for. A poem can be an image of Sylvia Plath.

India the land of sadhus, yogis and fakirs, how to take to? India, the land of sadhakas? A poem can be about the karmayoga of Swami Vivekananda; a poem can be about Paramhamsa asking Naren to have a tryst with the Divine, Mother Kali, the Dark Goddess before questioning him about. A poem can be about Albert Schweitzer; Mother Teresa; Sister Nivedita or Mirra Alfassa. A poem can be written on Annapurna Devi of Pt. Ravi Shankar from whom she separated. A surbahar player of Hindustani classical music and the daughter of Allauddin Khan of Maihar Gharana, Annapurna is no less than Shankar. None has written on the Emilia Henrietta Sophie White the wife of French extraction of Michael Madhusudan Dutt. One may about Kadambari Devi, the heart-broken story of her life. Anita Delgado’s life too is no less than as for how did Jagjit Singh Sahib Bahadur of the princely state of Kapurthala fall in love with a Spanish Flamenco dancer, married her and later on she was compelled to leave due to some familial problems. The life-story of Jacquline Kennedy also calls for a biographical perusal.

How to write poetry, the poetry of soul, the poetry of heart, the poetry of mind? Is poetry a sentimental statement? Is poetry a rasa-dhavani matter? Is it metaphorical? A poem may be recreation of Leonard Cohen’s songs, as such The Gipsy’s Wife, So Long, Marianne, Suzanne, Hallelujah, Sound of Silence, Akon’s Right Now (Na N Na) songs, written under the spell of, charm of. A poem may be about the ragas, raag vairavi, the shehnoi playing. Where the dhuna coming from the murali of Krishna? A poem may be about the research proposal on Surdas and Milton: A Comparative Study In Two Blind Poets. One may about the dance of Michael Jackson and the impact of the incantation, the limbs breaking and Jackson dancing and so the earth slipping under his boots. The clay-baked terracotta plates with the motifs and myths, designs and decorations are no less than poetic imagination and description. Bob Dylan wavered in accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature as he felt within if he deserved it or not, did the songs fell into the category of poetry or not which he spoke of while accepting the prize. Bob’s Tangled Up In Blue, Mr.Tambourine Man, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, Blowin’ In The Wind, Like a Rolling Stone and others may also inspire someone’s imagination. Poetry, song and music, how to differentiate them? In Bob Dylan, we see it Elvis Presley, Woody Gutherie, Pete Seeger, Little Richard, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Lead Bellys and so on.

When exotic flora and fauna are on the brink of extinction, we need to think about the global issues doing the rounds. Apart from social equality, gender bias, war, disaster, pollution, ecological crisis, environmental issues, green devastation and desertion, depletion of green woods and natural forests, acid rain, atomic summer, global warming, there are so many things doing the rounds questioning our existential stay and relevance. Where to go, what to do in this time of man-made crisis and disaster?

We have had great wars and the aftermath of it, the trail of devastation, horror and terror letting us not pass the nights. The bombardment on Nagasaki and Hiroshima had been cataclysmic and catastrophic annihilating them so badly which but went against humanity and the use of deadly weapons in war. Again came the turn of the fanatical revenge on the Twins Towers blackening the area with fumes and the people running for cover in terror. So was the war in Afghanistan, the Talibans wreaking havoc with medievalism and old thoughts, fighting not only with the American forces but with the cliff-hewn Bamiyan Buddhas too with mortars, shells, bombs, axes, cannons and other weapons. Oh, Buddha too under the shadow of the guns! How can peace be disturbed? The Iran-Iraq war frustrated us with loss of lives and intra-fighting.

Where Kipling’s Moglie and Bagheera? Where the great mahouts telling the stories of elephant-keeping? Where the great horse-trainers of India? History is all silent about. We had not good sense of history. What have we for wildlife conservation? Where the cheetahs tear-eyed and spotted? Where the zebras striped and looking beautiful? Where the porcupines at the foothills? Where the black bears moving down? Where the rhesus monkeys? Where the orangutans, gibbons, silverback gorillas? Where their reserves, sanctuaries? Where the kangaroos hopping? Why they all in the zoos losing their habitats? Where the peacocks dancing in the open? The vultures are almost extinct. The kites flying high in the sky too are scare in number. The penguins in Antarctica near the human stations, how to view it?

We do not know how the poetic inspiration working behind the creation of a poem, how the flight of imagination and what it the spur of the moment. The poetic lines come they connectedly as the trail of thoughts and ideas and you need to capture them, restore and preserve them for use and application and if you fail to catch at that moment, those thoughts and ideas will slip away from being scribbled on a piece of paper. Poetry is poetical lines, sentimental statements, sensitive thoughts and ideas put forth emotionally so full of feelings and imagery. Poetic frenzy is very difficult to be handled which but only a poet can feel it. A poem may be about your visit to Rajghat where there lies the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi with the words, Hey Ram! Where the artisans making the metallic statues of Lord Buddha? The gospels of peace, what to say about them? Buddha got enlightened under a peepul tree. The pains of Yasodhara she only knows it. How did he come out of the palace leaving them sleeping?


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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