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“Poetry Can Wreck Your Heart Into The Tiniest Of Pieces, And Still Hold You Together In The Strangest Of Ways”

“He believed that poetry could cure, or go a long way towards curing, almost every ailment. He would prescribe poems to his patients the way other hakims prescribed medicine. He could produce a couplet from his formidable repertoire that was eerily apt for every illness, every occasion, every mood, and every delicate alteration in the political climate.”

-The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy

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Poetry teaches you everything about life in a handful of alphabets. The beauty of it lies in the music it weaves into words. One that never leaves you, try as you might. Sometimes, your eyes will wander over an excerpt, and it will hold the story of your life in a couplet or less. That is what poetry means to me. It tells me things I already know; but ones I have pushed so far into my subconscious that they seem unreal. I love poetry because it doesn’t let me get lost. Novels give you time to prepare, to resist, to break, to recover. But poetry? It disarms you in just a few lines and leaves you naked.

Sometimes, it’s important to not have the option of hiding.

Suggested read: “Once I Touched The Cover, I Was No Longer A Human Of This World”: My Love Letter To Books

Trysts of an amateur in love

“Udaasiyon mein bhi rastey nikaal leta hai,
Ajeeb dil hai, girun toh sambhaal leta hai.”

-Wasim Barelvi

(In all my despair, it helps me out of the gall,
Strange is the heart, that cushions my fall.)

what poetry means_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

Poetry works in mysterious ways. In the warmest of days, it makes my rib cage bloat far enough to hurt. In the rare moments that I wish to return to this Earth as a human, it is because there is too much poetry I have left unread.

On cold days, it reminds me of the soft beating in my chest. It reminds me that come hail or snowstorm, there is nothing that will kill the fire I host within.

Poetry can make me feel even when my insides have turned to stone. In some parallel universe, they use shayaari to make dead men walk. I know this because there have been days, when between my coffee and these lines, I’ve felt my heart start beating again.

“Aukaat nahin thi zamaane mein,
Jo meri qeemat lagaa sake,
Kambakht ishq mein kya gire,
Muft mein neelaam ho gaaye.”

-Piyush Mishra

(Society never had the courage,
To put a price on me,
But alas! When I fell in love,
I gave my soul away.)

Cushioned between heavy emotions fit into the tiniest of phrases, poetry gave me company. It has taught me that none of us are alone. What you feel, somebody else has felt, and somebody will feel someday long after you are gone. The pain, the love, the anguish- all of it is here to stay, distributed perfectly over 7 billion unsuspecting hearts.

“I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.”

-Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda

Love does strange things to you. Like wanting to fit two souls into one body. Like forgiving every wrong this world has ever done to you, because it no longer matters. Like pouring your heart out into poetry.

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Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

Swimming through heartbreak on stressed feet

Love arrives exactly when Love is supposed to and Love leaves exactly when Love must
When Love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If Love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music. Listen to the quiet.
Whisper, “Thank you for stopping by.”

-Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye

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Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License 

Not all things end in forever, but that does not make them any less magical. A lifetime is perhaps too long to expect from a human being. Even the machines made with superior technology, and months of precision, break sometime. We are only humans of blood, flesh, bones and a little pixie dust hidden somewhere deep within. We are not infallible.

Suggested read: Spoken Word Poems By Women That Will Lead You To Yourself

“Mere seene mein nahi to
Tere seene mein sahi
Ho kahin bhi aag lekin
Aag jalni chahiye.”

-Dushyant Kumar Tyagi

(If not in my being,
Then be it in yours,
Wherever the fire may be,
It should burn.)

There’s a common vein of humanity that is affected every time somebody shatters. You might look into the night sky and find yourself stranded amidst the stars. But they’re all looking out for you. There are verses marching on stressed and unstressed feet, seeking you out, trying to bring you home.

Point of complete surrender

“I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.”

-Sylvia Plath

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License 

Poetry is a form of giving in, of shedding false skin, of quitting the masquerade. It gives you too little space to explain, and therefore saves the need of it. You tell them a life story in six lines, without the who, or what, or where, and you won’t be forced to speak any further. They’ll make speculations, they will make notes, but they will never know your mind.
There is some solace in revealing all secrets to the masses, knowing that they will only see their own truths in it.

You are safe.

Verses acts as tonics for your strength

“If suddenly
You forget me
Do not look for me,
For I shall already have forgotten you.”

-If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda

These lines gave me the anthem of my life. Never give yourself away enough to be taken for granted. There is nothing you cannot achieve as long as you have yourself. A breathing body and a determined mind is literally all it takes to conquer the world.

“Khudi ko kar buland itna
Ke har taqdeer se pehle
Khuda bande se ye puche
Bata teri raza kya hai.”

-Allama Iqbal

(Make yourself so formidable
That before the Fates write your destiny
God asks you
For your consent.)

What poetry means to me is beautifully contained in the goosebumps that run through my body every time it speaks to my soul.

Seeing the world for what it is

“You smug-faced cowards with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.”

-Suicide In The Trenches, Siegfried Sassoon

To me, the war poets started uncovering what verses before them hid: Reality; the gory, dangerous reality that Romanticism had masked under its melody. In Wilfred Owen’s ‘Futility’, he speaks about a young soldier boy who loved sunshine and woke up with it every day. When he was killed at war, they brought his body home and laid it outside. The sun burned, but Owen still felt like the rays were cold, as they failed to wake up the soldier.

Poetry can wreck your heart into the tiniest of pieces, and still hold you together in the strangest of ways.

Finding yourself in between lines

“Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.”

-We Are Many, Pablo Neruda

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License 

Have you ever found too many voices inside your head? Ever tried to be something, but ended up being somebody completely different? Neruda has a unique way of presenting the strangeness of the human mind. You start reading the verse as a wonderful piece of work, and end up discovering your own self.

Watching the cogs turn in this giant called the Universe

“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me…
…We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”

-The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot

The father of modern reality, it only takes a few hours of Eliot to see the world in a different light. In this poem, he speaks about how nobody will believe us when we speak of the futility of most things humans engage in. It isn’t the sea that suffocates the poet, but the forceful return to a feigning world of beings that makes his senses “drown”.

What poetry means to me can never be explained in its entirety. Much like these verses themselves, a part of my love will always remain unexplained- interpreted in ways the onlooker finds fit.

Suggested read: 21 Powerful Bob Dylan Quotes For Those Who Just Can’t Get Enough Of His Wisdom!

I’ve experienced nostalgia in Emily Bronte’sFaith and Despondency‘:

“Father, in early infancy,
When you were far beyond the sea,

Such thoughts were tyrants over me!”

 I’ve learnt to stand up for myself through Kevin Kantor and Sienna Burnett’s ‘Phases‘:

“Do not align yourself with the axis of their expectation

Do not fight your own pull

Trust in your own gravity

We are closer to the stars than they will ever be.”

If ever my heart has grown big enough to hold this entire Universe, then I owe it to words, to love, and to poetry most of all.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License 

Article Name
What Poetry Means To Me
This is what poetry means to me: It allows me to reveal secrets to the masses, knowing that they will only see their own truths in it.
Meghalee Mitra

Meghalee Mitra

My introductions have always been "I'm too awkward for this." My exercise routine comprises oscillating between being serious and bat-shit-crazy, laziness, and hyper-activity. I love words, live for food, and am always looking for magic.