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The Poet's Privilege

The Poet’s Privilege

When I read beautifully crafted poems, many often do not speak to me beyond the skill of wielding words. They appear laborious and stunted; sometimes forcefully rhymed. There is dexterity but little depth of feeling. Poems must not become ornate show cases of words that merely flaunt one’s penmanship; they must burst forth extracting emotions hidden deep within. Allowing words to tumble out of one’s psyche makes them potent; imbues them with vitality and universality that mutually connects the poet with the reader. Spending too much time in moulding them to a perfect form takes away their sharpness; their raw jaggedness is redefined by smooth, soporific curves. They lull rather than propel one out of complacency. Robert Frost says — "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words".

This is not a case against aesthetics in art. One cannot exist without the other. A poem though, must house deep emotions; along with eye-catching imagery and lyricism it must honestly reflect the times.  A verse is the compelling bloom of a seed passionately sown; the seed goes through the trauma of birthing, emerging as a sapling out of darkness; a poem arises courageously from the writer’s inner turmoil; from the naked truths of history, society, humankind, politics... the invisible warts of reality that must not stay camouflaged; it wells up from an honest exploration of feelings which eventually are churned into breeding grounds of inspirational ideas and general upliftment. 

With all its loveliness a poem must possess the flint to ignite fire in the readers’ souls and familiarise them with the spiritual vacuum of their times; with perception and understanding poets must endeavour to help mankind prevail over the darkness that so often engulfs the world. Their words must also be pillars of hope, courage, honour, compassion, sacrifice and rays that lead men to the reality of who they actually are. This is a poet’s privilege. What is his work?

In Salman Rushdie’s words: "A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep". 

More By  :  Shernaz Wadia

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