Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Observations in formation of a poem

poem writing ideas, prompts and inspirations
A poem is born in the fertile valley of emotions and it grows on the thoughts, pains, joy, suffering, happiness, loneliness, helplessness experienced by the poet. Sometimes a poem narrates an event and is coloured by the vision of the poet as he sees it. The poem is inborn and lines come to the poet naturally. It can be philosophical in its form, trying to express the nature of the things with a inherent meaning to all things that happen naturally, as the sun rising or the rain falling or a strong wish to sing a song. The poem gives a meaning to all these naturally occurring events and gives it an emotional appeal.

But isn't the world a reflection of our emotions? When we are happy and in a calm mood, the world seems so beautiful. The moon looks beautiful, the bird on the tree sings a joyful note, the world is filled with different colours, even dull, sombre things in nature look bright. Often such thoughts rise because of love for beloved, or when our lover is sitting besides us, or even just mere thoughts of our lover.

But when we are sad or some tragedy has struck us, the world outside seems to reflect the sadness inside. The moon even if it is bright seem to frown upon us, it may even laugh at us (so the poet feels) the winds seem to just pass by, the bird no longer interests us, and the natural elements seem to have wrecked havoc upon our emotions and our minds. It may even be that we feel lonely without our lover, or in the absence of our lover. At such times, overcome with grief, our heart aches and we feel to just be alone with our thoughts and our loneliness. Such feelings can be expressed in poetry and many times natural elements figure prominently in poems. They give the dramatic twist to the poem and makes the poem readable and interesting.

I came across two songs from old Hindi films and their mukhdas (starting lines forming part of the song embodying the spirit of the entire song) just were so wonderful and seeped with strong emotions.

One is from the film Tarana, the 1951 film starring Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. Great songs by Talat Mahmood and awesome music by Anil Biswas.

The mukhda of the song "Ek main hoon ek meri be-kasi ki shaam hai..." sung by Talat Mahmood is drowned in anger, hatred and grief. It goes like this:

The first line -
jali jo shaakh-e-chaman, saath baaghbaan bhi jalaa
This line expresses that as the garden and its trees and branches burned, with it also burned the baaghbaan i.e. the gardener and his family.

The second line -
jalaa ke mere nasheman ko aasmaan bhi jalaa
Though my small nest (nasheman) was burned by the ruthless sky, the sky itself burned with it.

These lines seem to show anger on the elements i.e. sky that conspired against the poet and burned down his nest i.e. his world. It says that though my whole world is burned so will burn the gardener, though my world is burned by the sky, so will the sky burn also.

The second film is the 1952 film Daag, also starring Dilip Kumar and Nimmi. Great songs by Talat Mahmood and music by Shankar Jaikishen. One particular song and its mukhda is wonderful in its content. The lines are as follows :

Chaand ek bevaa ki chuudi kii tarah toota hua
har sitaara besahaara soch men dooba hua

The moon is always beautiful to look at. But here in this song, it is not beautiful. It is a reflection of the grief felt by the poet. It is crescent, but why? Crescent like a broken bangle of a widow.... 
The stars adorn the night sky and are so bright on a dark night. But here the stars are pondering on something and are helplessly twinkling away in the sky.

Gham ke baadal, ik janaaze ki tarah thahare hue
sisakiyon ke saaz par kaheta hai dil rota hua

The clouds are lying still in the sky. They seem to just stand there. But why are they standing. As if attending a procession of the dead. And my heart sings to the tune of my sobs and tears.

The world is a mirror of our joys, grief, sorrow, happiness and the feelings that we feel in everyday life. The poem expresses just that - our emotions.

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