Sunday, 24 November 2013

Has Poetry gone out of our lives?

The answer to the question might vary from person to person. The fact of the matter lies in the nature of the world that we live in; deadlines, shortage of spare time, targets, shortage of time, competition, and competition! No, I guess poetry has not gone out of our lives because poetry is evident in the advertisement jingles and the taglines that have been concocted for the fact that they are lyrical and musical in nature. Rhyme and metre are evident in some of the most successful advertisement campaigns. Whether it is an advertisement that promotes the Sunshine Car, or the promotion of a particular product, every advertisement is built on the premise that the human mind is in any case attuned to music, rhyme, and rhythm!
Poetry is a genre of literature that requires the leisure and space to allow the words of the poet to sink in. Today, unfortunately, time is a luxury that we do not have! If Wordsworth, Keats and Tennyson were favourites of a bygone age it was because people had the time to read a poem. So that then, why is it that poetry is being given a short shrift today? Poetry supposedly belongs to an indolent culture that had leisure and time for  the choice of words and rhymes to sink in! While no doubt, poetry had its heyday in the Victorian era, the beginning of the twentieth has also seen great poets like James Joyce, and Pablo Neruda who had the courage to write of matter mundane!
I for one thing have progressed from writing prose to the writing poetry because I believe very strongly that poetry is a more powerful medium for communicating feelings and emotions! Some of the most powerful literature written in the past has been in the form of poetry! The greatest epics of all times have been written in the poetic style. The  Odyssey, the Iliad, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana were were written in the poetic style because the writers knew that what was written in poetic style of writing were more likely to  live on in the minds of those who had heard them narrated.
To believe that we can do without poetry is to deny the essential human nature of all human beings-believing that we have no time for  the leisure of sinking into the the mood and world of fantasy, if only for gaining a temporary refuge from the stress and demands of a world that looks for instant solutions for the problems of a world that is mired in controversies and issues that need to be solved on a priority basis! The argument for the promotion of poetry might be based on the fact that poetry is a genre of literature  that is based on the need to convey the message in the least number of words. So then, in an age that is dependent on need to save time, can we do without poetry? Prose seeks to convey the message in more words than would be possible in poetry, so isn’t it the need for the day to continue to promote poetry big time?
The greatest challenge before us today is whether we can do without poetry! To deny the importance of poetry in our lives is like ignoring the very fact that we, as human beings are built to recognize poetry and everything which is lyrical! Poetry is something that marks us humans as distinct from machines which are drab and mechanical! If machines are prosaic, can we ignore the fact that human beings are more inclined to poetry in life? The CBSE a board that sets the syllabus for grade twelve in India for students undergoing twelve years of schooling in India has reduced the weightage of marks awarded for the poetry component of the syllabus. This has indicated that for this board, poetry is less important than prose and the so called higher order writing skills component of the syllabus. Is this right? I very strongly believe that the importance of poetry cannot and should not be ignored! Poetry is and continues to be an important part of our lives, and we should not ignore its importance in any way possible!
To deny the importance of poetry of  in our lives is to deny the fact that we are human beings who are attuned to what is rhythmical and musical in life.When a senior leader told me not to take more than an hour to teach a poem to students of class twelve, I replied and told her that the poem was profound and that it needed more time than just one day, and she had the maturity to accept my contention!  Based on my understanding of the profoundness of poetry, I believe that we cannot ignore its importance in every day life! Poetry is here to stay, and to believe that we can do without it is to deny the essential human nature of all of us which marks us as distinct from  all the other creatures that live on this Earth!
A writer writes poems believing that  a few words will help convey to his or her readers the message that he or she means to pass on as accurately and efficiently as possible. It goes without saying that a human being without vision and dreams is dead to all forms of creativity and  growth. Poetry in any case is here to stay whether in the form of advertisement jingles or taglines. Poetry continues to be a favoured genre of literature, and one cannot replace it with prose which is in nature less musical and lyrical in nature. We cannot deny the fact that it is poets who make an advertisement a great hit. So I would like to exhort all creative artist to  go for the poetry as a more successful medium than prose for communicating ideas. 
It becomes a sad moment for the teacher of languages when his students question the need for reading poetry in class! The fact of the matter is that like all the genres of literature, reading poetry helps make us better human beings! Prose unlike poetry is prosaic and often dry and often without that zing or spirit, while poetry has that little extra. Poetry continues to be the best medium for communicating emotions, sensations, and perceptions to another individual. It is as close as one can feel what another has felt at a particular moment. While it is true that technological advancement might have brought us the gifts of social networking sights, the fact is that we are drifting apart emotionally and have little heart to heart communication with each other! In a world that is becoming increasingly mechanical, there is steady degeneration in the quality of human relationships and human bonding. The de-humanization of cultures and societies has made it necessary to promote poetry big time! Those little but significant things like the Sunset, the little yellow flowers dancing in the wind, or the flock of birds winging away in the skies are all important things that we often ignore while rushing to work. It is poetry that brings these forgotten things back to life when you have a few moments to spare. Poetry is music and music is poetry, and one can't deny that music and poetry have the power to remove all that sadness and depression that exists in our lives!
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