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Thomas Steams Eliot, a famous American-English poet, playwright, and literary critic, once rightly said,

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion: it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality, but of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.”
How true indeed his words are and they definitely hold good, even in today’s techno-savvy world. Nowadays, it is the different social media, which have gained great importance in everyone's life but along with this, very sadly, everyone has forgotten the art of reading and writing. Today, even a toddler of one or two years of age, knows what a mobile phone is and how to use it, but the same toddler maybe unable to even say a few letters of “The Alphabet” or maybe even the Numbers from 1 to 10. This is a very sorry state of affairs and we have nobody to blame except ourselves.

As far as writing is concerned, it is definitely much better to write a big paragraph or an essay, running into hundreds of words or even lines, but one cannot say the same about Poetry. A person who can wax eloquent for hours on end, or write even a book or an autobiography, maybe quite unable to write down even a 4 line poem. Why is this? This is because Poetry is a different ball-game altogether. One needs different qualities of the head and heart to write down Poetry. When you being writing a Poem, it may take you just a few minutes or it may run into a few weeks, hours, or even months. It all depends on what the topic is and for whom you are writing the poem or even for what purpose.

According to me, the very word Poetry stands for various things, given below:

P for Place - It depends where you are, when you are writing a poem. If it is a crowded, noisy room overlooking a marketplace, etc or a railway station, it will definitely be quite impossible to pen down even a verse. But, on the other hand, if you are in a quiet, secluded spot like a deserted beach, or sitting on a park bench late at night, or even if you happen to be travelling in a train, during off-peak hours, I am sure, one will be stimulated to pen a poem about the various scenes that one observes or even a poem about nature at its best, especially during the rainy season.

O for Object or Aim- One must bear in mind, that before one starts penning down a poem, it is necessary to decide what the object of that poem is. Is it a tribute to a loved one, or a poem to enhance the teaching of a particular educational topic (especially for school or college students) or is it an entry for a Poetry Competition? Is it meant to be read out for a particular occasion like a birthday party or a jubilee celebration or is it meant to felicitate somebody on a milestone achievement or maybe for an outstanding performance in one of the Arts?

E for Emotion- When one writes Poetry, there are a number of emotions that can influence the type of Poem, being composed. For eg- if one is at the adolescent age, with raging hormones, I am sure that the emotion that would be most prominent, would be love. If one is unhappy with one’s spouse, family situation, job etc, the prominent emotion used here, would be anger. If someone has undergone a battery of tests and then discovered that he or she has been diagnosed with a dreadful disease like Cancer, etc, I am sure the main emotion here, would be fear. If one is beginning a new stage in one’s career or has just begun a job or maybe even tying the knot, then the prominent emotion at play, would be none other than excitement and why not?

T for Title- This, according to me, is the most important part of a Poem. The Title of the Poem has to be one which is not too long, but short, crisp and draws the attention of the reader, in order to read the poem even if he is not a fan of Poetry. An Archetype would be a good choice. For eg-“The Highwayman, which is the title of Alfred Noye’s classic poem. This is a character Archetype or one could also have an animal Archetype. Titles which raise a question, could also be a good choice. For eg-“Where have all the Oceans gone?” One-word poem titles also are a very good choice but these are the most difficult of all. They could either make or break your poem. Titles could also evoke certain emotions like “Happiness” or “Love”. Sometimes the title can also be a very humourous none. For eg- “The List of Famous Hats”, which is the title of James Tate’s poem. The title could also focus on a particular place. For eg- In a Goan Flea Market. Of course, there is another option of just leaving out a title for the poem or just calling it “Untitled” but to my mind, this shows that the one who has written the poem, is a little lazy and has a lackadaisical attitude and left to myself, I would personally never get myself to read such a poem.

P for Person-It is very important to keep in mind the person, whom you are writing the poem for and use words accordingly. What is the age group of that person? Is he or she a family member, a sibling, a neighbour or just an acquaintance? Is he or she a well-read person or just partly literate? How close are you to the person for whom you are penning a poem? If you are very close to that person, you can use some terms of endearment or else it is better to stick to just plain, simple sentences. If you can add some flowery vocabulary, your poem will be all the more better-sounding to the reader.

Finally Y for Year or Period- You have to set your poem in the here and now and connect it to the present reality or else no one will be interested in reading it, if it is set in a time-frame of a few decades or maybe even a few centuries ago. Today, all readers are interested in reading poems connected with what is happening today, in the world around us, no matter if it is connected with Politics, Economics or even Psychology.

I would like to end with the words of Dylan Thomas, “A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.” So, friends, “Happy Poem-Writing, Just go ahead and begin. It’s now or never.” 

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