Google+ Followers

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Of Poets and Poetry

Poets are exquisitely gifted individuals. They are endowed with sharp sensitivities and sensibilities. None can match their keen observation, their depth of feelings, their intensity of responses to the world around, and their power to evoke images through “vividness of narrative and minuteness of detail” which mesmerize the readers. Aristotle in his Poetics asserts ‘the poet disengages himself from the material needs’ and “expresses the universal – the permanent possibilities of human nature.”

A poet is a magician with words. He connotes the meaning of words by conceptulising them. He threads words into pearls of muse and fashions a pleasurable experience with the power of heightened imagination. The poet surpasses reality by presenting it as a coherent and reasonable portrayal of life’s higher goals. He purifies it “from the dross which always mingles with empirical reality.” and elevates it to a high pedestal taking us along with him like a magnet. The paradigm of human emotions of love, tenderness, beauty, separation and betrayal are a part of a poet’s primary assumptions. He builds his own environment where he recreates them, so subtly and skillfully as to leave us spellbound.

Let me share with you briefly my impressions and appreciation of a few wonderful poems by English Romantic Poets which I enjoyed as a student and later as a teacher.

The foremost among them is William Wordsworth. Whosoever is an aficionado of poetry is drawn irresistibly to the naturalness and earthiness of his poetry as he picks themes from real life and invests them with grandeur and poetic wonder which moves you to a state of exaltation and pure joy. For Wordsworth “poetry is emotions recollected in tranquility.” His poems “The Daffodils” and ‘The Solitary Reaper’ exemplify his assertion beautifully. While on a walk he is so enthralled by the beauty of the daffodils growing on the bank of a river and the scene gets etched in his mind’s eye and he pours it out so lyrically and rhythmically when alone in his room. The first stanza says a lot about the wonderment of natural beauty:
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
The Solitary Reaper’s singing influences him deeply and gives wings to his imagination. He makes ample use of imagery to lend a philosophic and mystic touch to the poem and takes the reader along while conjecturing about the theme of the song.
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary highland lass!
Reaping and singing by herself,
Stop here or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and bind the grain.
O listen! For the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
By the use of metaphor and similes he elevates a concrete reality into an artistic creation of unparalleled beauty.

Shelley in 'Ode to West Wind’ addresses the west wind which is associated with autumn. He goes imaginatively lyrical as the poem progresses, personifying it in so many ways and pouring his heart out to it. He implores it to help him overcome his inertia and bless him with courage and freedom to express his deepest longings. The poem ends on a note of optimism though, with the proverbial line: ‘If winter comes, can spring be far behind?’
O Wild West Wind,
Thou breath of autumn’s being...

Oh lift me as a wave, a leaf a cloud,
I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed.
John Keats the last of the romantics was a self-taught genius. His poem ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’ is an expression of his love for beauty, the power of the word and has eye for colour and detail. He feels overwhelmed with the assuaging capacity of nature’s blessings and maintains that in spite of despondence, sorrows and melancholy associated with life, nature shelters us with its abundant benedictions. The poem embodies the universal truth of nature’s balancing effect on our lives. Keats' thought process goes much beyond the ordinariness of existence to reach the zenith of aesthetic pleasure.
'A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.'

No comments:

Post a Comment