Oh, the luxury these poems experience!
What a delightful mode of articulation!
No rules, no boundaries, no restrictions,
Plain and simple freedom of expression.
It is enviable – seeing their utter independence,
The rest of us mere mortals – mundane and bound,
Unable to express; neither word nor sound.
But poems - well, they’re ever off solid ground.
A play of sounds, of words and language,
That may or may not be conventional at that stage
The portrayal of experience - albeit of bondage,
Set free, to reign over minds and hearts.
Poems don’t just speak of the poet’s thoughts –
They ARE them – manifest, strikingly wrought;
They laugh, they cry, they truly live the lot.
A breathtaking genre of literary art.
As the great Archibald McLeish said in his famous poem ‘Ars Poetica’, “A poem should not MEAN, but BE.” Poems, as mentioned in the verse above, are probably the freest genre of literary art. They are like experiments; the concept or theme being the hypothesis, the body being the process, and the last stanza being the conclusion. However, while experiments base themselves on the basic, fundamental and bound structure of scientific knowledge, poems enjoy quite a keenly sought-after freedom, beyond all boundaries.
The word ‘poem’ comes from the word ‘poetry’, as the form of literature that includes them is called. The latter originates from the Greek word ‘poiesis’, which means ‘making’ or ‘creating’. The nomenclature itself is proof that this form of literature has been awarded the highest position in terms of creativity and ingenuity. The best part about poems is that they are not bound by any kind of rules and regulations. There is no particular way of writing poetry. It could be narrative, dramatic, lyrical, or satirical in nature. Poems could be structured as couplets, tercets, quatrains, cinquains, sestets, or octets, or could be set to the Iambic pentameter, the Dactylic hexameter, the Anapestic tetrameter, or the Trochaic octameter. In fact, they could be bound in a carefully designed, metered rhyme scheme, or could be set as a free verse, too.
The content of the poems is also given immense amount of freedom; whatever the structure. Poems can be written in any language, using a wide variety of poetic diction, from rhetorical devices, such as similes and metaphors, to tones of voice, such as irony, to alliteration, assonance and consonance, and the strongest device of all, imagery. Poems have the wondrous ability to create vivid images, possible and impossible, in the mind, and, quite astonishingly, making us believes that they are true.
The most beautiful aspect of poems is that anyone can write them – whether it is a small kindergarten kid writing about his mother, or whether it is Andrew Marvell trying to persuade his beloved to engage in a passionate consummation with him. One can write a poem on anything they come across; poems are a means of expressing one’s feelings, attitudes, beliefs, experiences, and most of all, imagination. Poems create a completely different world of fantasy for both, the poet, as well as the reader. They have the capacity to sweep you up and away to a planet of wild, wild imagination, or actually, even to make you disturbingly aware of the present events that are occurring in the world around you.
The most important, historical and revolutionary function of this highly flexible genre of literature has been to create awareness. Considering the fact that no one has the ability to enforce rules against writing poetry, many revolutionaries all across the world have instigated huge masses to fight for their rights against unworthy rulers. Perhaps that is when the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” materialized.
Whatever the theme, whatever the structure, and whatever the point of view, poems are probably the best way to express one. If you can think, you can write, for thoughts are the basic foundation for poetry! So plunge yourself deep into this ocean of poetic creations, where every droplet is a tear – of sorrow or of joy, and every ripple is a movement – of the mind and heart. Feel the emotions wash over you, and cleanse you completely, so that when you emerge, you do so as a rejuvenated, enlightened, and knowledgeable being.