Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes. – Joseph Roux

 

Of course I appreciate ardent vocabulary and articulation. Everybody adores literary finesse, as do I, regardless of how understandable it is. It’s not much different with poetry. Everybody is wary of the writer, love them or hate them. It’s a cliché, like being a jock or playing in a rock band.

I’ve met many of them read many of their works. Very well written with words I’d never come across before. Very professional. But let me tell you this, at the risk of sounding outrageous, a tiny fraction of them truly impress- in the real sense of the word. Even few of them really strike chords, which need no second reading, which you instantly love.

It’s like your perception is this weird jagged rock which you thought will always remain that way and somehow this piece of writing clicks perfectly into place. It never tells you something completely new which you had no idea of. It just adds a new dimension to things you always thought you knew. And know what the best part is? It needs no ornamentations, no words that belong only in a thesaurus, it’s written with the simplest of words like the language of your thoughts- instantly recognizable.

It’s not this otherworldly goodness which you place in a glass case, which you can only stand back and gawk at. It’s this earthy thing you can touch, turn and inspect. And that somehow is the best kind of poetry, the kind bleached of pretense, that takes all those words you always knew and creates something oh so beautiful by simple juxtaposition.

How delightful is it to know exactly what a writer means to tell or at least juggle all those myriad meanings the words could possibly assume. There’s delight in knowing and equal delight in not knowing for sure. It’s so satisfying, you feel like god resurrecting the poet from the dead. Like an archaeologist unearthing a million year old transcript. Maybe that’s what Shakespeare meant when he wrote “So long lives this and this gives life to thee”. After all what is death when you can still live and speak through the written word?

It’s ironic how words not only convey but also conceal. And other times they are mere carriers of an invisible idea.  And peeling the layers one by one till the idea expands in your head like a bullet wound is magnificent.

I guess that’s the thing about poetry that makes it a tad more romantic than prose. The reason moony men wrote sonnets instead of plain text to profess their undying love and the reason the ancient Indian texts are composed of verses and not prose.

Somewhere between rhyme and arrangement, real, tangible magic is created.

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2 thoughts on “Poetry- The best of the written word

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