Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sukumar Ray, 
How do Poems grow? They grow out of your life
– Robert Penn Warren

It happened only a few months back. One fine morning my daughter came running to me. She jumped into my arms and asked me whether I could write a poem for her! I was so amused and amazed. It reminded me of something I had done before, but it was a long time back, almost fourteen years ago. Then I was in the final year of my college. And I used to try so hard to write something like poetry for the girl I loved and whom I married eventually after a few more years of assiduous persuasion, coaxing, cajoling, and many more poems! And poetry was what helped me the most. Luckily for me, she liked my poems at that time!

‘Daughters take after their mothers, sometimes. I thought! So now it was time to write a poem again, but this time for my seven-year-old darling daughter.

Such is the beauty of poetry! It can melt a girl’s heart at any age, it can bring tears to your eyes, and it gives you Goosebumps on several occasions.

It dates back to the time of Gilgamesh and all the other marvelous epics of the world. These ancient old but extant literary masterpieces are all essentially poetry. Iliad, Odyssey, Mahabharata, and Ramayana are nothing but poetry; astounding verses which have taught us the lessons of life, for ages.

“Poetry is the mother tongue of the human race”
– Johann Georg Hamann.

How it was invented, no one can ascertain. But undoubtedly it is one of the greatest discoveries of humankind! Poetry in its different forms as poems, verses, epics, couplets, ballads, limericks, epitaphs, sonnets, and possibly many more has enchanted and enthralled numerous people irrespective of their ages, caste, creed, and religion.

A rhyme is perhaps its most nascent stage. And even in such a rudimentary state, it captures the beauty of the ‘twinkling stars’ so aptly that it even makes the babies wonder about their diamond-like splendor, emanating from up above the world so high!

Then as the babies grow, the rhymes also seem to mature with them into full-fledged poems, as if trying desperately to keep pace with the little souls! And as a result, the kids’ world gets broadened! Now it’s not only the stars that astonish the kids; they can see the wandering clouds as well, floating high over the imaginary vales and hills and under which dances the golden ‘daffodils.’

Thus, poetry opens the gate of nature and its abundance, and showers on all an unending ecstasy and lively exuberance.

Poetry also rekindles rage, passion, patriotism, and bountiful emotions in almost all human beings which remain etched in their hearts forever.

When we were in school, we were taught many poems. Some in English and some in our mother language. We also learned about the poets and analyzed their thoughts and answered the questions at the end of the chapters. In this process what I felt was more difficult than getting good marks was perhaps to single out any one poem specifically as the best or as my favorite. All the poets and their poems were so profoundly outstanding, and magnificent. Their works were nothing but sheer brilliance!

Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sukumar Ray, and many others in Bengali literature; William Wordsworth, Percy B. Shelly, Alfred Tennyson, Walter De La Mare, Roald Dahl, and many others in English literature; and gosh, their poems! They entered our lives at an early age, in our childhood, and with their mighty words, they shook us. Their poems left us in awe. So many of us have traversed through this illusory, subconscious state of mind where it felt like we have arrived in front of ‘the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell with Cannons to the right of us, and with Cannons to the left of us! ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ turned our little fantasy world topsy turvy and probably in every one of us then, a valorous, proud soldier, like each one of the ‘Noble Six Hundred’, was born!

On the other hand, some poems made us laugh our hearts out and the great poet Sukumar Roy was indeed a master in this art. His book ‘Abol Tabol’ (Rhymes of Whimsy) even today makes every person split into laughter anytime, anywhere.

Like these, there are so many creations by these great poets and others, which have touched our lives in the past and continue to do so at present. Their literary excellence is unmatchable, unparalleled, and beyond words. They have truly made poetry the crown of literature.

In recent times also, we have had many wonderful poets who write in English language and other regional languages, and their works deserve the highest accolades, praise, and respect.

But the most intriguing and striking aspect that poetry offers or brings out is the hidden poet inside many ordinary, common persons like us. As I have said before, the poet in me was super active some years ago; similarly, I have seen many other friends of mine turning into a poet overnight, drawing inspiration from different causes. I stopped being a poet for a while after winning over my girl, whereas for Rakesh, my friend, the case was exactly the opposite. Once he failed as a lover, God knows why he immediately turned to poetry trying to seek solace by being a poet himself. First, he would pour all his heart’s pain into his poems, and then he would force us to be his listeners. But forget about sympathy, we struggled to hide our laughter after he was done with his poems; because like good friends we didn’t want to ridicule his efforts by laughing in front of him and rubbing salt in the wounds of such a helpless romantic and hopeless poet! And also, because we remembered Oscar Wilde, who famously, said once, that “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling”!

Then few other guys could write hilarious and sarcastic poems at the drop of a hat, and each of their masterpieces with its subtle and mocking illustrations of our day-to-day affairs and surroundings would tickle and jostle all our funny bones! And they wouldn’t spare anyone, politicians and our college principal being their prime targets.

I wonder at times why it's poetry that so many of us resort to. Some to impress a girl while some to forget one, some to entertain friends, and some to become instantly popular. It seems that poetry always strikes a chord with us and it gives us the easiest way to express ourselves. Maybe it’s the rhythm or its brevity, clarity, and succinctness that attract us. Whatever the cause, its appeal never ceases! It is the ultimate language of our hearts, the quintessential story of our souls! Michael Franti, an American musician, poet & activist has rightly said, “Every single soul is a poem”!

That’s why poetry and humans make such a bond, an everlasting, heart-warming relationship! And it starts from a very tender age. I realized this when my daughter wrote her poem for the first time as a reply to the one that I have written for her at her request.

In the last few lines of my poem, I casually teased her a bit for her occasional clumsiness and silly scuffles with her younger brother over petty issues and also mentioned how much annoying that was for me. In reply she wrote in her poem:

“Don’t be so angry when I do something wrong,
I am so small and not so strong;
But I like it when you love me and hold me tight,
And when you scold only my brother, after we fight!”

The such poem could surely make anyone fall for her, my seven-year-old daughter, I thought! It was so much adorable, simply overloaded with all the sweetness on this earth. And its innate childishness that radiated such guileless, innocent vibes, just overwhelmed the father in me!

No other thing but only poetry can perhaps cast such a pure, blissful spell of magic. That is why we should all try to discover the poet within us and keep that alive forever! No matter, how fledgling it may seem. Because in the end, it’s indeed fun to be poetic; and wonderful to be a poet, always, even in prose!

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