Monthly Archives: March 2023

Poetry : the mother-tongue of humanity

By Krishna Dulal Barua

Every human being has an inborn urge to unveil his mind and heart through some creative form of art. Poetry, perhaps, continues to be an immediately sought-after medium of expression. Of course, this doesn't necessarily imply that poetry, particularly modern poetry with all its intricacies and complexities, cater to the popular palate in today's market-centric existence. However, even in its diminutive glory, poetry matters and should continue to through its unceasing phases of evolution. Poetry, after all, is the mother-tongue of humanity!

A.E. Housman had stated years before that the production of poetry is more a passive and involuntary process of secretion that sets up in the reader's sense a vibration corresponding to what was felt by the writer. Poetry, rather than transmitting thought, ought to transfuse emotion.

The definition of poetry or the description of what poetry is about has been elusive. The recognition of poetry or the perception of its presence requires an acquaintance with the essential features of true poetry. There may be poetry in prose as well, and verse may be quite distanced from or devoid of poetry. If verse is the body, poetry is the soul. And a body with no soul is no better than a corpse!

Poems could be fragments of an autobiography in disguise arriving on their own to the poet pining for expression. A poet cannot sit like an angler with pen and paper waiting for hours on end for ideas and words to catch his bait. It is the impulse rather than the wish that contributes to the achievement of the genuine essence of poetry.

S.T. Coleridge had stated that poetry gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood. Sometimes perfect understanding almost extinguishes pleasure. According to T.S. Eliot, poetry is communicated before it is understood. Truly, poetry is a very wide and intricate term and, as Housman said, 'inconveniently comprehensive'!

Published on the occasion of the World Poetry Day— 21 March, 2023.

Poetry Day Musings

By Dr Ananda Bormudoi

Poets are believed to be at the finest point of awareness of an age. Their consciousness is like a fine gossamer on which the smallest particle causes a ripple. They can transform that ripple into the strange and irregular rhythm of life.

Some great poets have created eternal lines which stick to our memory when we read them. Why do they stick to our memory? These lines have adhesive quality of their own. Some eternal lines are taken away from the poems to be used in different contexts of life. At the time of crisis, they console us and donot allow us to give up hope. They teach us to endure, suffer and not to give in. Poetry teaches us what life is worth and what to live for.

Poetry is written with words and words carry meanings on their back. Words much used become clichés. A good poet knows best how to charge a word with new meanings. Words are in the dictionary and the people always use them but the poet knows how to infuse new meanings into them. An old and familiar word looks fresh and new when charged with meaning by a poet. A poet need not be exotic thematically to impress upon his readers. The poet can drop down to a low key to talk to his readers taking them into confidence. If a poet wants to perform only to himself he need not write. If a poet wants to communicate to his readers and he wants it sincerely, he can find out for himself how best to communicate. Trying not to communicate is acting against oneself.

Published on the occasion of the World Poetry Day— 21 March, 2023.

My Love

Durgeswar Sarma

Be lured not by my charming looks --
My doting eyes on a comely face,
Be lured not by my outer goodness,
Be lured not by the glint of love in my heart ;
All might end up along the path of vice --
However somewhere I'll crumble into bits !
Keep your eyes of doubt on my heart,
Be immersed not fully in my affection,
Love me if you feel inclined to, but without being dauntless
Keep not your love for me all along.

Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua

Durgeswar Sarma (b.1882-d.1961) was an Assamese poet and playwright.

Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.

Click here for the original Assamese poem.