WH HUDSON defines literature as ‘an expression of life through the medium of language’. Since man is the supreme creation of God, and gradually acquires knowledge of language, why do we say a poet is born with passion for poetry? A student asked me why we all can’t be poets though we all know language? I believe that poet and poetic thoughts are shaped by a sensitive mind’s minute observation of life’s experiences and evaluation. A poet is a person who has a keen eye for his surroundings, feels oneness with common humanity, touching both mind and heart at multiple levels, having an attribute to peep inside the psyche and pain of people. He gives shape and words to those ponderings, well-textured, pretty and comely words, makes them fragrant with the perfume of courtesy, embroiders them with hues of emotions, blends them with exquisite delight, and finally, enwraps them in passionate, precise and poignant poetry.
Is a poet really born or is the talent inborn? Some feel inspired as Shakespeare drew inspiration from Chaucer and Wordsworth from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal, yet there are many who believe that poetry comes naturally, just as Keats said, ‘If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.’ True, great poets had a way of perceiving things and thoughts. Yet, I believe that just like all of us are bathroom singers, but can’t be professional singers, similarly poetry or writing is an art that fulfils a very primal need for self-expression, possessed by a few. They may be gifted, but we can’t deny the fact that it takes years of listening, reading, analysing, years of painstaking craftsmanship, rigour and zest to be able to write few pearls of wisdom and worth.
Even after years of learning and reading literature, whenever I try words seem like strangers coming from some other planet and I unfurnish them, reshuffle them, make them twist and turn, till my thoughts bear a stark resemblance to them and the notes of orchestra start playing rhythmically in my mind, mesmerising me with the ecstasy of creative attainment.
Though nowadays, with a flood of poetry on Facebook and self-publishing houses promoting verse, one can become a poet if one wishes. There are tools available on the Internet to help frame imagery, rhyme, juxtapose and create a verse. One can achieve a sense of heightened exuberance.
It is not that a poet is born or made; poetry is born out of the embers of anvil of life, out of an intense desire to express. One must have the will to comprehend the dynamics of poetry — it is spread everywhere, in nature, in human thought, in divine spaces, in you and me. Poetry seeps into the subconscious while fusing with the conscious and reaching the unconscious, as rapturing contentment overwhelms an individual. Thus seeds of thought are fledged into lyrics swaying happily and sung harmoniously.