“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” -John Keating, Dead Poets Society.
As a child, I remember being in love with poems. My parents had taught me some in my mother-tongue and I used to recite them often. Later, I remember singing them happily in the classroom with my friends. This memory, however, transforms into something gloomy in the later years. I remember trying hard to keep up with my batchmates and teachers as we tried to ‘solve’ the poem, writing long answers, trying to dissect its central idea and the hidden interpretations of each line. Slowly, the love for poetry died inside me until, a few years ago, I went back to it and realized, how, in many small ways it made my childhood better and still has all the power to help me navigate through adulthood.
Now that I give it a thought, I realize that one of the biggest reasons why I associated so much with poetry as a child was because it gave me a sense of freedom. It represented and fed my curious, innate mind. As I read, learned and recited more poetries, I learned new words easily because they usually rhymed. I was slowly, subconsciously building myself a strong foundation in not just languages, but in understanding people, emotions and situations. Be it my grandparents or my teachers at school, I felt more connected to people with whom I read and recited poetry.
And all this still remains one of the strongest reasons why I connect to poetry even today. There are no ‘rules’ or ‘standards’ in poetry. There is only experimentation and exploration. Poetry allows free flow of thought. It gives words to our imagination and creativity. And since there is nothing like good or bad poetry, it gives one all the space to think freely, be driven by the emotions, and situations. Reading poetry has personally added more to my imagination and the positivity in which I approach a problem. There is no fear of being ‘incorrect’ or making ‘errors’, reminding me of the infinite possibilities. And the best part? When I write poetry, I introspect. I tap into the depths of me, the understanding of me- why I feel what I feel. This helps me understand what I want and what way to take forward based on this understanding.
From making my language and writing skills stronger, to help me understand myself better, there are so many ways in which poetry has helped me grow into a strong and creative adult. And now that I have a child and I am doing my part in making her appreciate poetry, a challenge stood in front of me to find her a school that values poetry equally. My search ended at Oxford World School, where my child is provided with an environment that lets her wonder, ideate and create. She is not scared of taking risks and experimenting with her words. She has now learned to not just ‘solve’, dissect and demystify a poem, but appreciate the literature and the nuances of it.