Feb 29, 2024
Feb 29, 2024
Is Human Life Complete Without Poetry?
by T. A. Ramesh
Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was of the view that poetry involves whole soul into activity. According to Rudyard Kipling poetry is magic. Yes, poetry is music produced by the magical power of a poet. Whether the meaning or message or matter is understood or not certainly the sound of music or rhythm can be heard in any good poetry. The echoing effect of poetry is the expression of the happiest or the most sorrowful mood or sense or sentiment or emotion or the voice of the poet. Poetry is not only music but also a picture painted with the same old words in a fresh manner. That is why poetry is ever fresh and new and whose place can never be replaced by any other form of literature.
All dreamers, musicians, painters, sculptures, etc. in words afresh always are poets. Like a lover or a madman the poet is also an adventurer in imagination. With the power of imagination they create a world of their own wherein they are the leaders leading all men to happiness or sorrow at their will. A great poet whom we call as genius has a unique power to see A to Z of all details of everything and express them without any omission. So this power of a poet can briefly be said as the unique combination of his emotion, imagination, intellect and intuition. Naturally when these faculties unite together in a man his utterances ought to be some kind of poetry whether his mood is happy or sorrowful, whether he is lonely or in joyous company.
Natural and Popular Poetry
Poetry has the power to sway over everyone because of its lasting echoing effect. Poetry that has no mechanical design but has an organic formation like the naturally grown plants from the seeds to the leaves, the flowers and the fruits, has the power to reach the heart beginning from the eyes or the ears and finally mingle with the soul of man. It has the power to please the senses and bring one to one’s senses. Poetry gives pleasure to heart and at the same time enlightens the mind also and makes the complete soul get animated by its spirit. That is the nature of the best poetry. The poetry that is living in the new form today according to the changes of time and the living style of the people and is popular can be seen in the folk songs, the Cinema songs and the Pop songs of the world. Therefore poetry is a necessity of man and without which human life is incomplete.
Nowadays what is expected of poetry is that it should be understood just like a prose piece but at the same time it should be poetic also. It is indeed a challenge for the modern poetry writer. So the possibility for a poet is to adopt the language of the people spoken everywhere. The best thing to do is to use the conversational language for accomplishing that end without altogether giving up rhythm, internal rhymes, etc. wherever they came naturally. So, blank verse or free verse that comes naturally and easily according to the mood and the contents of the poetry finally becomes the best style and method one can practice, which will be easy for everyone to read and understand without any difficulty.
Imagination and Criticism
In A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare says
From nothing unreal and nonexistent thing imagination can produce something, some illusion of reality. It can produce joy as well as fear from nothing. Previously that was the job of the poet. Now the poet has also become a critic of life in his poetry. According to Matthew Arnold poetry is the criticism of life.
Prose and Poetry
In the fast moving world people hardly spend anytime in reading matters in detail after Radio, TV and Computer have come into use. Today people to know about the world, the activities of important persons on all walks of life in different parts of the world, Nature, natural calamities and the Universe, read the briefly written pages of some express newspapers and fasting moving magazines only. The knowledge of truth about many matters people read in them gives instant pleasure people need and they forget the matters very soon. Truth about eternal things are difficult to understand and people also dislike to read books on such matters written in prose in philosophic or scientific style, because people won’t get any pleasure, understand anything and gain any knowledge at all out of them. In such articles truth is expressed in bare facts which are dry, dull, lifeless, boring and non-exciting. Those who understand such facts enjoy great pleasure but they are all isolated few only and very meager in number.
Pleasure of Poetry
Certainly pleasure is the need before one gains knowledge. The first duty of poetry is to give pleasure. If it does not, it is not poetry at all. Poetry is as per the view of Wordsworth a “spontaneous over flow” of passion, it is “emotion recollected in tranquility” and more than that “Poetry is the first and last of knowledge – as immortal as the heart of man.” Poetry is unique like painting and music because from the passing things it gives permanent truth producing delight or from the trivial thing it conveys the Universal truth putting one and all in joy, pleasure and surprise or wonder.
Flexibility of Poetry
Poetry is preferred to prose because it is the most flexible form of literature and art. The compression of many ideas and information is possible in poetry for the rapid reading of more matters; and for the easy understanding of matters the rules of prose can be followed in writing modern poetry. For that bridging the gap between prose and poetry is possible by the use of spoken words or the conversational language of the public or the common man’s language of the news media we are familiar with. In this way poetry is made easy, interesting and lively for the reading pleasure and remembering matters. But in general prose written well in simple language itself becomes poetry very often! Above all what distinguishes poetry from prose is the descriptive beauty of words, the musical sound of words, the words of human passion or the personal element and the inspiring or the exciting power of words in harmonious unity or in rhythmic form. In short poetry has beauty, knowledge, passion and excitement which are lacking in prose.
Many people think and still have the idea that the metrical composition or the rhyming verse alone is called poetry. That has become an old form of poetry long ago. Modern poets, following the examples of Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and others, have relinquished writing metrical verses and have changed over to new poetic forms in poetry. In reality nobody speaks in rhyme or uses complex symbols or images in conversation. In poetry we use imagination like intellect in prose to express truth about reality and abstraction. For this purpose the new poetic form in spoken language is very useful to write freely, naturally and in variety according to the mood, situation and circumstances one is placed. Finally, it can be said that it is possible for a poet to cut sculpture, draw pictures and compose music not with hammer, brush and trumpet but with the words people know and speak everywhere in the world.
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