May 29, 2023
May 29, 2023
by P C K Prem
A slightly different outlook and approach
Poetry is an instinctive response to a thought or experience in a particular instant. Emotional reach makes it nearly complete. If I try to define poetry, it is not exclusive. A verse emerges out of sensations but it is also not strictly clandestine. A natural cry of a child, the innocent smiles and mother’s warmth, and gradual growth defines the presence of some force, you know but you cannot really say or affirm with confidence.
What is it exactly? A child grows into a man and collects many memories, earns little incidents and correlates everything to life and tries to find meaning. Occasionally, it exists inside a flash of light you try to understand. It abruptly materializes and you make efforts to catch hold of it with words as emotions bubble up and sit aghast. You go on with a restrained emphasis on feelings reflexively and after a short time, alone and thoughtful, you create a frame of language haphazardly as if it were a pyramid, a little horizontal mystery as if and then, it is vertical with a word or two and you feel full and bursting.
Reaction to the beauty and charm one finds out in adolescent years in nature and beauty that drives to euphoric moments. I think intensely many times as a reaction to some abstruse experience. Too often a joyful break, a silent chase to hold a flower, to keep alive the beauty and the light of eyes, joys and smiles of a girl, the warm touch of ma, the assuring words of pa despite anger and a word read somewhere work relentlessly on poetic excitement and miracle.
A verse of a moment one nostalgically treasures in the corner of heart is a cause of ardent rousing essence and fragrance in a lyric. It is poetry personal and still speaks of universal anxiety I am convinced. A few soft rebukes and guru’s little advisory lexicon on life and living, little good acts of helping someone without prop and carefree reverential sentiments for virtues… gather up and you feel you collected many experiences. Is it wisdom and knowledge of a dynasty…a little part of the humankind living in separate cells? Does it create its individual world?
Poetry of intrinsic value it is that aspires for rhythmic idiom, the music of inner man with a longing for a bond with humanity.
A little variation is perceptible in experiences because emotionally, human beings are similar –intense and deep but rarely elucidate feelings but very soon, mind-set, emotions or experiences turn into poetic outbursts. One understands the process but fails to define how it happened.
At times, poetry is prose…you break a long sentence into a group of words and lo, it is poetry if it carries the sound and echo, which one may call a nearly tuneful alliance of words and melody –the melodic speech. That a verse has many forms –all musical, melodic and harmonious is not the question here. Placid, melodic sounds, rhythm or rhyme and alliterations offer taste of poetic expression but still one is unable to classify lyrical frame of mind and heart giving thrust to the construction of a verse.
Poetic pouring and whirring is natural in a mindset that learns to live in harmony and rejoices in disquieting situations also. To me it appears a fertile ground of poetry. One experiences it within with genuine intensity and naturalness.
If one talks of backdrop, one recognizes influence of relations and the milieu in which one lives. Thoughts, emotions, and knowledge in totality are the gifts one inherits from past and then, strengthens it with innovative ideas perhaps one thinks, and here, experiences count. Poetry draws food from experiences and impressions and from transferred awareness of the age.
A bit of maneuvering automatically enters during poetic exercise, for a poet ought to bear in mind that human nature –sensibility, emotions, sensations, experiences and impressions or the ability of imitation and twist in phrases look innovative or new because of slight alteration in style, language and idiom but if one goes deep one finds it is not. Perhaps, the critic is caring and therefore, obliges the poet if he evaluates poetry based on not very traditional apparatus of criticism, and so often speaks of uniqueness and modernism in the verses of many poets.
A split second decision it was when I pen downed a few lines and I called it a poem. I hazily understood but the teachers loved and thus, I took to poetry at random and or maybe, a verse loved me and so I lapped it up. Nothing is clear. Many a time after indulging in elegiac delight for years, I felt that it was just giving a new-fangled or original look to experiences, notions, intuitions and knowledge gathered from ancient times up to the current age and its essence of analysis and evaluation.
In the process, it became a habit, an essential ingredient of creative art as predilection got fillip to go ahead because inherited or ingrained stuff proved effective for creativity. It gave power to the art of writing and I felt the current flowing brusquely to daily activities in which I lived, participated and shared with a selected few. It was an attitude to accept the limitations. I thought long and felt, well, I was right. Little I knew and still poem appeared a great novel creation and that caused objectivity, aloofness, and a kind of distance.
I was on a journey from ostensible serenity of long back when ancestors lived in the world of nature with little wants to leisurely surfacing of chaos and disharmony as modernity began to spread tentacles –it was good as well as bad - as it altered life of people internally and externally even as rational souls continued to find rhythm.
It was internal interruption, a bit pleasant and mostly challenging and I felt it was not different in the outside world where I noticed everyone running about carrying immense load of beauty perfect, embryonic noise, thrills, conflicts and confusion from a period of some tranquil mental attitude to an abortive discursive confrontation that led to a world of new consciousness.
I was to open ‘the self’ to the world outside as sense of humankind and egalitarian concept of a new world beleaguered. I was baffled much later, for the concept confused more as I found innate sense of disbelief and the logic of prejudice, intolerance and violence within despite fondness and love for man…a strange milieu while natural world looked forlorn and stained.
It was an intellectual carousing but still true, and poetry carried the strain and tinge of the constituents so it was a vague trajectory of a few melodic notes and music of words.
It may appear horrific and preposterous but at times, I consider words as colours that offer varied meanings, and hint at unique undertones in symbols and metaphors to beautify the subtext. If one looks at a verse from the points of view of colours of a painting and nature, one can easily chase away a few doubts. However, one can detect parallel thoughts and emotions in a lyric and painting when mind’s eyes break through the veneer of traditional meanings.
Depth of sensibility and cautious deliberation on what one thinks and experiences at a particular moment, gives legitimate substance to what one wants to convey through a verse, a painting, or any work of art, for art of sort strengthens the art worlds and it is possible through poetic upsurge and outbursts that come so easily to a poet.
If the creative artists present the best or superior in art in the sense that it not only gives lingering joy and meaning but also does it subtly without ever making it obvious, the work serves the purpose and raison d'être of art and interprets man and society. If the critic finds the superior element in art and reveals it with the knowledge he holds, it is good understanding of work of art.
In creation, I feel, one depends upon life in totality, for material of stimulation or ingenious imitation not only comes from the inside of creative artist only but also from the world of arts.
Continuation of stimulus and inner drive captures or evokes experiences and impressions and if one gives it apt form or body to intense experience, it gives pleasure and living turns out quite gratifying in terms of quality. That act may dispel shadows of bleakness if any life carries even in carefree moments.
Poetic art stirs love for life even while it struggles to negotiate anguish an artist confronts and tries to wriggle out. The kind of totality, I often speak of is the cumulative reserve of informative or you may call it enlightening or edifying knowledge one gathers from one’s culture, heritage and history. However, one cannot call it wisdom one often interprets and understands.
An artist, humankind or anyone else gathers knowledge and wisdom from traditions, history and culture and only gives it a new form or structure but it is never original or fresh.
Poetry is not purely inspiration, imagination and giving it a figure of beauty in words but it carries with it the entire cultural load that contains good and evil and right and wrong –a fair amount of ethical fund.
Ethical bequest is nothing but the ability of man to permit other to live with hope and love to make man and society good. If an ideal culture and heritage disconnect man from regimented quality of life, where restraints of society work to subjugate autonomy of man it liberates him from manmade shackles and stir innate sensations, a rich moment for verses of passion, pity, pain and anguish. Freedom grants thrust to imagination.
That intellect and heart work hardly ever in collaboration is a normal attribute. An ability to assess and move correctly is good. Heart encourages impetuosity if not controlled and guided otherwise it is not good for man and society. Union of opposite elements and instincts in thought and experiences with meaningful objective brings about affirmative and encouraging outcome based on the principle of good and right.
Often, I felt, intellect was an indirect artiste and such evaluation of art becomes inherent as it begins to contemplate on the gain of work of art for and towards man and civilization though it may not be discernible. That way, poetic art softens, elevates and builds up bridges of understanding in insensitive or cacophonous tendencies even and it is good for humanity.
I am also of the opinion that poetry is a good ointment, a therapy, an effective safeguard to avoid little personality flaws, which arise out of curt and offhand culture of argument or questions –may be in a seminar or anywhere else. Not only an argument hurts human bonds but also damages growth of inner energies - relating to spiritual or metaphysical quests of man – a man often guards furtively or candidly.
Inner serenity and harmony if guarded can facilitate cultural and spiritual yearnings of man. In suffering and mental torture also, poetry takes birth if channelized rightly, when an artist refuses entry of unrelated and detrimental factors. Further, these sources of interruption do not weaken moral sense in any way but ultimately, chances of erosion and distress lessen, and exercise vigorous and nourishing affect as these also eliminate or wipe out negativity and imperfections in human words and acts and that is good for man.
Whenever, I composed a poem –short and long, it gave me unique enigmatic satisfaction and surprisingly, I felt, a bit chastened or purified and so it provided adequate emotional shelter and I was ready for another poetic feast.
I even recall, how it anguished when I indulged in the construction of a long poem…it was not intentional but inspirational urge to write and write sans earlier fancy but soon it turned into a deliberate attempt to close thematic wrangle a poem put up. It was a silent consent to accept realities of the mundane material life, its frequent ennui and consequent entry of a few joys.
I know source of poetry, a source to which I still fail to give a name, for it is limitless…infinite and faintly I realize it thrives at the most fanciful and hallucinatory or delusory or dreamy state of beatings of heart and intellectual questioning of the intangible or subtle experiences.
Again, in the summoning up of identifiable memoirs or reminiscences, origin appears indistinctly visible but it is strong at the experiential stage. The principle works almost in every poetic mind. Quaintly enough, I realize after years of experience that in truth, every heart is a poem and it only requires a moment of urge, an inspiration and an unrestrained flow of feelings and thoughts wrestling for identity or a kind of form to become noticeable and that is poetry even as it ennobles and glorifies man and humanity.
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