By Tanaya Singh:
It was World Poetry Day on the 21st of March. (And this article should have come on that day itself.) But the power of poetry is such, that it can make you forget everything else once you get devoured in its depths. Talking about poetry is poetic in itself. It is one of the most beautiful forms of expression. The limits of emotions that can be depicted through poetry, are like many other form of art, infinite. The description of someone’s beauty, the portrayal of someone’s love, mourningÂ loss, the randomness of this universe; theÂ versatility of poetry is undefined.
We heard a lot on women’s day that, “each day is a celebration of womanhood and it’s not just one particular day when you have to shower her with your regards.” I wish I could say the same about poetry. But it’s not true. Poetry is not celebrated each day, not at least in India. But the irony is, we love music, songs, singers, musicians, and in the end, more than often, we forget to appreciate the lyrics. Isn’t that poetry too? Kids here are introduced to poetry in the form of school course requirements, a compulsory book you HAVE to read for good grades in exams. That’s a coercion that can never lead to interestÂ orÂ curiosity. The books on short stories and prose might not be a forced thing to study, because students are already introduced to story books, novels and the Harry Potters. This is clearly unfair.
I had not heard of Shel Silverstein when I was a student. I can happily put the blame for this on the lack of my knowledge, but the point is not this. Â The point is, that when I came to know about the poet, and read his work, I felt regretful about not having known him all this while. If those words can fascinate an adult so much, think of the effect they can have on kids, for whom they are written? They can be inspired to love poetry in a way that it’s not just a compulsory course book. But something that can attract you to its core and keep you glued to the search for more. (Even that rhymes! As I said, the talk about poetry is poetic in itself)
So to celebrate this beautiful form of writing, I have compiled here a list of 10 poems that we came across when we were in school, in our teens and in our early twenties. This list is just to introduce you to the simplicity of poetry, and the meaning that those few line add to one’s life. And I am choosing these only, because even if you left the side of poems once your exams got over, these never cease to exist. And maybe, they can inspire us to keep the spirit of poetry alive and throbbing. With the highest respect for all these poets who showed beauty in the form of words, let’s begin with a few lines from each.
1. The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
2. Lucy Gray- William Wordsworth
Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray,
And when I cross’d the Wild,
I chanc’d to see at break of day
The solitary Child.
No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wild Moor,
The sweetest Thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!
3. Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat – Thomas Gray
Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew’d to every watery God,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stir’d:
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A favourite has no friend.
4. Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
5. Annabel Lee -Â Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
6. Endymion – John Keats
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness 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.
7. The Walrus and the Carpenter – Lewis Carroll
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
‘If this were only cleared away,’
They said, ‘it would be grand.’
‘If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,’ the Walrus said,
‘That they could get it clear?’
‘l doubt it,’ said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
8. The Tiger – William Blake
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
9. All the World’s a Stage – William Shakespeare’s
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
10. Colors – Shel Silverstein
My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it’s silver when it’s wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet…
We know that justice for this compilation means not limiting it to just ten. So if there is some long loved poem that I missed here, keep adding on. Tell us which one’s your favourite?