Why poetry is dying?
According to most religions, everything started with light; light being the metaphor for anything from knowledge to wisdom to justice to happiness to redemption to triumph to righteousness. The list goes on and on. Why? Because it’s a fucking metaphor and it can mean any godforsaken thing we want or don’t want it to mean. Which is why i believe everything started with poetry. An innate desire to moot by describing events and feelings that can’t be described otherwise. But our ancestors tried and failed and tried again and failed again and kept trying till they couldn’t try anymore. What sustained them through this crisis was their self-attested poetic license to take on stuff that were much beyond them. For all their troubles, no other creature could imagine god but we did. No one else bothered to test the uncharted terrains. The poetry in us midwifed the birth of civilization. Without it, there would have been no revolution (from agricultural to industrial) and no confusing scriptures either to badger us along. There would have been nothing worth living for. Whatever we place close to our heart today, be it honour or sympathy or courage or peace, has its insemination in the poetic spirit of our forefathers and foremothers.
Without poetry, we were nobodies and without poetry, we shall remain nobodies.
Spoiler: Despite all these factors, they tell you that poetry is dying.
Now, is it?
To be candid, i am tired of hearing how poetry is dying. It’s been dying for so long now that so many of my tribe must have born, died and reincarnated as me. It’s like going to the funeral of somebody you loved and keep on going and yet never getting to reach the funeral. Just because we can’t/don’t compose 10 original verses and instead depend on Hallmark/Archies doesn’t mean that poetry is out of the window. We continue to seek them wherever we can; from the songs to gorgeous long shots to quirky one-liners and heartwarming doodles. You can’t escape it. Just that it has taken a slightly different form doesn’t make it redundant. Yes, a majority of us have developed allergy to words like poem and kavita. Still, that doesn’t overcome the poetic strains in our DNA. We continue to seek celestial moments on Earth. Furthermore, we appreciate poetry in incidents that are scarcely verbal, without even realizing that there was poetry involved in that particular feat. Take sports, for example. The way LeBron James parleys with rivals around him before dunking or how Ronnie O’Sullivan finds improbably space on the board is poetry personified. The only difference being the utter lack of words in motion.
Wherever we are today, thanks to billions of mortals who stamped this planet before us, none of our achievements can ever supersede words. Words were, are and will always stay our greatest accomplishment. And without the poets, there wouldn’t have been words to play piano on air with our tongue. The earliest poets weren’t even aware that they were poets of the highest order; similar to how James and O’Sullivan won’t ever accept their poetic knighthood.
It’s strange when you try to intersperse varied personalities along the axle of poetry. Besides, everybody doesn’t have to be an architect to build something lasting, something worth wasting one’s time on, but we know we are in the process of building something or the other. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful skyscraper. It could very well be a family. And there’s more than enough poetry in that pursuit itself.
Lastly, in reference to the title of this post, it’s always advisable to leave a question mark where a full stop can settle comfortably. The point being, the next time, somebody informs you that poetry is dying, kindly howl, “…OF WHAT?”