Here is some of my random thoughts on the above topic.
Evolution of mankind. MAN –roof and crown of creation-alone can creatively think and act.
“புல்லாகிப் பூடாய்ப் புழுவாய் மரமாகிப்
பல்விருக மாகிப் பறவையாய்ப் பாம்பாகிக்
கல்லாய் மனிதராய்ப் பேயாய் கணங்களாய்
வல்லசுர ராகி முனிவராய்த் தேவராய்ச்
செல்லாஅ நின்ற இத்தாவர சங்கமத்துள்”
This is an extract from a great Hymn to Lord Shiva composed by one of the tallest Tamil sages Manikkavasagar by name in his famous Thiruvasagam.
When translated into English
Grass, plant, worms and trees, huge and great banyan, birds, snakes, stones, MAN, ghosts, demons, sages, Divine being- in the great evolution of mankind”
As civilization developed—age to age- culture also developed. Culture of writing, reading, listening etc. improved.
Evolution of Poetry.
Poetry is emotional, imaginative, rhythmical language, meter, figures of speech, simile, metaphor, personification, pathetic fallacy, elegy, ode, sonnet, ballad, epic, metrical romance, Homeric simile, oxymoron, antithesis and so on.
Yet: Poetry: “most sublime of all arts”.Carlyle:
It is the harmonious unison of man with Nature.” Wordsworth:
“Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and has its origin in the emotions recollected in tranquility”.
Joseph Roux: “the exquisite expressions of exquisite impressions”. Shelley: “the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds”.
Indian civilization –one of the most ancient in the world. Vedas and Upanishads –word of mouth –most in the poetic form. Indian medicines, astrology related matters were also in the poetic form.
In the world picture, Elizabethan Poetry Henry VIII to Shakespeare. XVII century poets Dryden, Milton and others produced immortal poetry. XVIII century witnessed the poetic gems of Goldsmith, Percy, Cowper, Pope and others. XIX century we had the greats like Thomas Grey, Shelly, Keats, Wordsworth and others.
Religious literatures, great epics of the past were also in poetic form. Poetry and its various forms are all part and parcel of Indian culture and civilization.
Indian poetry of the past had a glorious history. In every Indian language poetry has made its imprint indelible.
Vedas- in particular Sama Veda-, great epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha etc were examples of the best of poetic creations.
Twentieth century also saw .extremely great poetic creations of great poets like Sarojini Naidu, Aurobindu, Toru Dutt, Daisaku Ikeda, Kamaladas(turned Suraiah), Dom moraese, A K Ramanujam, Dr.R N Sinha, Dr. Krishna Srinivas, Dr. Tulsi, Dr. Ameerudin ,Dr. Arbind Kumar Choudary, Dr.Chembial, Dr. Fakruddin, Dr.Ameerudin and host of others.
while sticking to one or the other established poetic forms, these poets found themes that are distinctly Indian and thus laid strong foundation for Indo-Anglican poetry.
Changing times-changing patterns. Marching ahead in the third millennium – English as a language of great heritage and of immortal literature is being replaced by commercial English and Computer language!
No more Milton’s PARADISE LOST, Shakespeare’s KING LEAR, Shelly’s ADONAIS, Byron’s DON JUON, Keat’s GREACIAN URN, Coleridge’s ANCIENT MARINER Yet we have great poetry like FIVE ELEMENTS of Dr. Krishna Srinivas,
Chaucerian Stanza, Rhyme Royal, Ottawa Rhyme, Spenserian Stanza, Terza Rhyme, the Quatrain, the Heroic Couplet!!!!???
Yet the glory of English poetry is not gone! We are having increasing number of poets- young and old. men and women. students of literature or otherwise, Go to POEM HUNTER, Poets in thousands and Poems in lakhs! SPIRIT OF POETRY CAN NEVER DIE and there will be no dearth of poets and their creations for eternity!
We have a good number of poetic journals in English – POET, QUEST, KOHINOOR, YOUNG POET, BRAINWAVE, MET VERSE MUSE, POETS’INTERNATIONAL, POETRY SOCIETY’S journal and so on.
Poetry of Tomorrow! Very bright future! But how?! In the Japanese way!
These are the days of fast food, fast communication, fast travel- fast, fast, fast! “no time to stand and stare”!
Japanese small car took the world by storm!
Japanese little poem HAIKU –very popular for its length so appropriate to the fast paced life of today!
“Prose wanders around with a lantern and laboriously schedules and verifies the details and particulars of a volley and its frame of crags and peaks, then poetry comes and lays bare the whole landscape with a single splendid flash” – Mark Twain. Did he mean HAIKU?! May be .
WHAT IS HAIKU?
“Short” surely is sweet
Short verse surely sweeter still
Rest of forms can’t beat! (1)
One’s life may be short
His deeds may last eternal
Short verse always smart! (2)
Life is short for sure
Yet one lives long forever
Through deeds so pure! (3)
What can be short verse
Surely short with syllables
But lifts the universe! (4)
Short verse! How short be
Three or five lines can be
-Five-seven-five can be
In terms of words? Surely not
But of syllables should be! (5)
Japan’s bonsai great
Their “short verse” shines like full moon
Provides tasty feast! (6)
Japan a small land
But land of innovations
Gave the haiku the grand! (7)
Haiku and tanka
Great “short verse” that lifts the souls
Provides joy pucka! (8)
What is great haiku
Fine words meaning deep and wide
Lifts like a cuckoo! (9)
Japan, place of birth
Japanese language of verse
Carried all over
By votaries of short verse
All through the glorious earth! (10)
Haiku is not new
Twelfth century form of verse
Reigned top in Japan
Those days “HOKKU” named a few
Name “HAIKU” prevailed upon! (11)
Yielding place to new HAIKU
Like darkness to Sun! (12)
Old HOKKU spurned sure
Romance, sex and violence true
New HAIKU spurns not! (13)
‘Short’ yet not easy
Essence in five-seven-five
And make it cozy! (14)
Poet’s noble thoughts
Short Verse of powerful words
Lift the man to heights! (15)
Society needs ‘short’
These are the days of ‘short verse’
Poets do stand tall! (16)
For the weary mind
Poems in a capsule form
Tablet of a kind! (17)
For the healthy mind
Poems in five-seven-five
Gives strength of a wind! (18)
“Short Verse” –unique forms
Provide human norms! (19)
Birds strike chord of peace
Love and live with nature well
Short verse reigns with ease! (20)
Sure woods are lovely
As sweet as short verse are
Passion rose kindly! (21)
Divine love unites
Cares not caste, creed and color
Poet’s short verse binds! (22)
Pure love surely wins
Short verse surely ennobles
Kingdom of God spins! (23)
Nature showers joy
Short verse provides joy and peace
Makes lovers enjoy! (24)
Jasmine true is small
Its fragrance surely divine
“Short verse” stands far tall! (25)
Exquisite in form
Excellent in mystic sense
Short verse brings a storm! (26)
Rose petals smell great
Haiku meanings make one thrilled
Poets provide nice treat! (27)
It was my intention to say and explain HAIKU in the Haiku form of poetry!
We have poetic hearts, depth of message, providing ecstatic experiences in many of the poems and poets in the contemporary literary world. But disturbing trend is also visible when the readers come across long sentences, punctuated with small lines, lacking excellent expression or intensely felt feelings and emotions, spontaneity and naturalness, failing to invoke imagination, and message to the society and enthralling experiences and ennobling instincts. Themes and presentation rarely inspire.
In my view, good poetry should be simple in structure, conforming to the norms of metrical verse to an extent possible, transparent, conveying direct message to the readers who should understand and appreciate poetry without the help of an English teacher or dictionary! “Nature as theme or ‘human behavior”or evils in the society or otherwise, it should give a clear message to the society. Size matters not so long it gives satisfaction, joy of reading, benefit of message, and pleasure of music in poetry”
Here is a comment on the Haiku poems of N V Subbaraman:
“………………….The poet Subbaraman’s Haiku are exactly Haiku originating in Japan. But in Japan, there is no concept of rhyme; thus his rhymed haiku surpass Japanese haiku in beauty. The beauty of both the contents and the form of his haiku is worth esteeming very highly………………….”
Dr.Kazuyosi Ikeda, Ph.D; D.Sc; D.Litt; D.Cult; D.Envir.Sc.
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