Poetry for No Rhyme or Reason

Since as long as I can remember I have been at loggerheads with poetry. I admired the rhyme but could often find no reason. Prose was my cup of tea I decided. I tried writing poetry but always felt a sort of disconnect with it, as I struggled to understand them and worse never really enjoyed the ‘hassle’ of penning them. I struggle with prose too but it is never a chore, I can sit with it for hours – just like I have been at this post!

But then I came across a post by Theresa, which forced me to re-look into my antipathy towards poems. And understand that poetry is not about understanding but about feeling.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. T.S. Eliot

I had the first inkling of this when I came across the Shiv Tandav Stotram by Ravana, which he composed to appease Lord Shiva. Ravana is a Hindu mythological figure and that he composed a song is in itself mind boggling – did he actually exist? And then comes the poem, in Sanskrit, a language that I don’t know. Yet the song, the poem with its onomatopoeias and alliterations resonates and never fails to pull me right into it, leaving me exhilarated, uncaring and unmindful of the world and its shenanigans. I finally understood why Lord Shiva forgave him. Anyone who can compose like this, deserves another chance, and another, and another….

But that didn’t stop me from dissecting poems, struggling, scoffing, scorning until Theresa introduced me to this poem:

Introduction to Poetry

by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author’s name on the shore.

but all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

I was stunned – I was guilty of doing exactly the very same thing! I should technically be ashamed and embarrassed but I am too relieved and flying high to be any such thing 😀 Thank you Theresa! Do visit her blog for the complete post and more amazing poems.

I would also like to share with you with a poem written by the French poet, novelist, and dramatist Jean-Pierre Simeón. It has been translated into English by Claudia Zoe Bedrick, and illustrated by Ollivier Tallec.

The poem is about a little boy Arthur, whose fish Leon is dying from boredom. His mother advises him to give Leon a poem. And thus begins Arthur’s journey to find a poem. He meets and asks several people and finally returns with this to Leon:

A poem
is when you have the sky in your mouth.
It is hot like fresh bread,
when you eat it,
a little is always left over.

A poem
is when you hear
the heartbeat of a stone,
when words beat their wings.
It is a song sung in a cage.

A poem
is words turned upside down
and suddenly!
the world is new.

Click here for Leon’s reaction, the complete poem, illustrations and original links. And while you are there, you may consider subscribing to Brain Pickings, a goldmine and a must read for all 🙂

PS: I am very pleased to tell you that the Haiku queen penned another commended haiku for the IAFOR Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award 2017.

our baby
between us
a new distance
                                                                                                                                                              Suraja Roychowdhury, USA

Congratulations Suraja – look forward to many such pearls 🙂

The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. Dylan Thomas

Thank you for reading – wishing you all a wonderful weekend, Happy Easter, Happy  Baisakhi, Happy Vishu and Shubho Noboborsho and anything else I may have missed! 🙂

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 132

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Email me at mysilverstreaks@gmail.com or tweet me @mysilverstreaks

19 thoughts on “Poetry for No Rhyme or Reason”

  1. Hello, likewise here, at first I can’t really seem to connect with poems, or poetry writing, but I do love to read them. Until one time, when I was not essentially doing something and I am busy lurking about my favourite South korean couple (actress and actor), and I was inspired but what I read, I was moved to say something about them in poetry. (2 stanzas, with perfect rhyming, hahaha). Since then, I did not stop penning poems (rhyme and unrhymed), and the birth of this blog of mine. I guess it is also an inspiration thing.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy festivities!!
    Iam quite at sea sometimes when it comes to poetry though I do have enjoyed reading them.
    “Introduction to poetry” – that’s a well defined poem…. so well expressed!! The poem by Jean-Pierre Simeon is beautiful.
    Congratulations to your friend, Suraja!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very nice post, Dahlia, and not just because you mentioned me:). Thank you for that! I still struggle with poetry too, but one of my fellow poets on AP had told me not to try and analyse things…..doomed by training,you and I! So I try to go with the flow. But I love the Japanese forms as you know- deceptively simple, but oh so lovely. Can i hope to read more of your poetry now?
      Happy new year 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy New Year to you too! It was so freeing to know that it’s okay not to ‘understand’ 😀 Funnily enough, just before I happened to find this gem I posted two ‘poems’ although I am not sure they are what I claim them to be. Would be happy if you take a look…


  3. Oh my gosh, Dahlia! “A poem/is when you have the sky in your mouth. . .” I gasped when I read this. How amazing! And thank you! for mentioning my poem post. I can’t wait to see what more you do in poetry! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful read!…loved all of it….T.S. Eliot’s thought, Introduction to poetry, the facts about enjoying and creating poetry…and most of all, the poem by Jean-Pierre Simeón, that wonderful picture-book was the cherry on the cake :)…thank you!
    Congrats to your dear friend…haiku feels like magic, gets over too quick but the wonder, the after effect prolongs…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed this. I love a good rhyme and the poem on my poetry blog here on WordPress is about rhyming in case you have time to look? Have a rhythmical weekend, Sam 

    Liked by 1 person

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