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On poetry and poetry lovers

Sangeeta Saikia Pathak

Poetry is a form of art that encapsulates the expression of human emotions, feelings, longings and desires of humankind. It is a kind of outlet in the mode of scribbling your thoughts on a piece of paper in a prosaic form or of typing your words on an I pad in today's digital context.

That 'Man is mortal' is a well-known adage, yet the great poet William Shakespeare in one of his sonnets expressed two ways for man to become immortal by Man - by progeny or by writing good verses. Although Shakespeare left this world physically nearly four hundred years ago, still he is still alive even now in the classrooms of schools, colleges and Universities, literary forums and seminars by way of his immortal verses!

The human mind is a great enigma that has remained shrouded in mystery until this day. It can undergo an array of a multitude of turbulent emotions one after another. Physiology might attribute this to the different chemical reactions in the brain leading to the release of various secretions like endorphin, serotonin and so on. Going by the astrologer's way it is under some particular planetary configuration that a person can be very sensitive and greatly creative.

Just as the sight and fragrance of a rose can invigorate a person, the touch of the gentle breeze can leave one feeling greatly relaxed! So is a butterfly or a rainbow that make one smile and getting drenched in the drizzling rain give a person deep form of joy! The sight of the vast sea or a great waterfall can make one feel a kind of vastness within him or her. It is same with a melodious tune or the sight of ones lover who send ripples across one’s heart!

Different phases of human life have an impact on the kind of poetry one may love to read or compose. A toddler loves to hear and sing rhyming poetry, a teenager or a youth loves to read poems about both falling in as well as out of love heartbreaks etc. Further post marriage experiences might leave you yearning for verses of physical longings. Thereafter job and family life might make you feel that the political and social laws of your country have a direct bearing on your own well being and one might revert to a subtle form of poetry in which the person criticize the policies of his own leaders. The transition from a girl to a married woman might leave one questioning about the gender equilibrium and she may find succor in verses of some feminist poet. Old age might leave a person seeking some kind of philosophical or religious leanings in a poet’s verses. For an overtly sensitive and philosophical person life may be found in stones and rocks, could decipher what the blowing breeze would whispers to one’s ears and he or she would converse with the flowers in the garden!

Again, the tone and style of expressing your verses would differ from person to person. If you are a bibliophile, your poems would be too intellectual and your verses would remain confined to only a particular class of people like yourself. On the other hand, if you happen to be a Nature lover there would be a streak of romanticism in your poems. If you are a culture-loving person, you could globally speak about your local traditions, customs and folklore in your poems. If you were an extrovert type of personality, you would literally wear your heart on your sleeves in front of the entire world.

Human emotions being constant throughout the ages, poetry has been able to connect or building bridges between peoples of the World irrespective of caste, creed, colour or religion. Poetry is actually the ultimate unfurling of human truths in a layered manner. That is why; we even read the verses of the Bhagawad Gita, the love poems of Rumi or Chaucer's Nun's Priests Tales even today.

Poetry can act as catharsis to your pent up feelings and leave you feeling relaxed or soothe your pains like an ointment thereby releasing your toxins that could have otherwise adversely affected you in a sub conscious manner.

Especially during this dark period of human history of the Covid-19 Pandemic, poetry could provide us some sort of relief from the stress and anxiety of these turbulent times. Humans have already survived the Great Plague and the Spanish Flu in the past and will no doubt emerge as a triumphant in this War against Covid-19. They will also manage to spring back in shape economically just the way they did in the aftermath of the two great World Wars.

Just as physical exercises boost up the physical immunity of a person, good poetry will serve as a good platter to the mental peace seeker in these turbulent times.

Perhaps a new body of world literature is in its making during this time reflecting the deep human struggle against Covid-19. The new novel world order will embrace in its fold the launching of e-poetry in massive forms along with virtual meetings of poets and writings in online mode.


Sangeeta Saikia Pathak

works at Govt. of Assam

and lives in Guwahati


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