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Sunday, 21 April 2013





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Lilting poetry from the East and West

I am no pundit on poetry. To me, poetry is a beautiful collection of words. Kavi or Kavidhoi gives relaxation, enlightenment and absolute peace of mind. It also helps in meditation.

The lilting lines of poetry have enriched the languages of the world. It comes in many lengths and names. Poetry can take us down memory lane, and bring to mind events sad, historical and enlightening. A poem could consist of just two lines or many. It gives us absolute joy when we read a nursery rhyme – “Jack and Jill went up the hill”. Or “Ma Veni Bilinda”.

John Keats

A 14-line poem is called a “sonnet”, Rhyming, metre and alliteration are integral components of poetry. Holy Scriptures have been written in verse. Vedhas, Bhagavad Geeta Dhai, the Bible and the Quaran have traces of verse. The greatepics were in verse. Homer's Illiyad, Odessy, Ramayana with our Ravana and Bharatha Rama as the main personalities kept the world excited and enthralled.

Actually, a poem makes a long story short. The gist of the story is unchanged. A poem is a listenable, loving, lilting and literary legend. Ancient architectural engravings show that poetry was alive even then. Writings on papyrus had astrological predictions. Remedies for ailments and symptoms have been pains- takingly written on Ola leaves by our renowned Vedamahahathayas of yore. All this was in poetry form.


Poetry, to me is lovely imagination, man's Frailties, his magnanimous achievements and history brought before our eyes. They are for all times. True, it is books that are ladders which take us from infancy to grave in their quest for knowledge. Poetry does the same. But in a more dramatic manner. Prophet Mohammed's words, ‘seek knowledge from cradle to grave’ remain valid for ever. Poetry makes us seek this knowledge most lovingly.

The verses in the books of old, the Sivupada “Maley maley ara naa mala nela vareng – Aththa bindei paya burulen thaba vareng, or the tear jerking “Badagini vela maa giya kala puthugegeta – Menalada puthe kiri dunne maa numbata”. The poet has his reasons to pen these lines. It happens even now. How many mothers face this tragedy. Again Kopamana guna kalath dudhano novethi yahapath, says volumes on man's ingratitude.

Poems written in all the languages have a message. Let me mention a few lines in English poetry which belong to the past, the present and the future.

Beautiful lines

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever”, says Keats. Also “My heart leaps up when I behold the rainbow in the sky” are beautiful lines. Then Tennyson's ‘For men may come and men may go/but I go on for ever”. But Tennyson would have cried in seeing what is being done to our brooks by man.

Every line in poetry is so meaningful.

Shakespeare incorporated a few lines which rhymed and made the reader to sigh. “Spirit of Caesar be still. I did not kill these with half so good a will”. Then “Gilded tombs to worms enfold, haven't you heard that?” His seven stages of man are for all time. Then his most heart-rending lines at the end of Romeo and Juliet. “There never was a tale of such woe. Than that of Juliet and her Romeo”. ‘Water – water everywhere, but not a drop to drink’ says the Ancient Mariner in Coleridge's poem. Frightening line that could very soon become a reality. Alexander Pope's line - “With every word a reputation falls.

Very common amongst the women of the world - Gossip. In Ulysses, the poet says ‘To strive, to seek and not to yield.” Our own recent history has shown us most graphically how true these words are. Also ‘They also serve who simply stand and wasn't. The silent man behind the side screen may come up with the most productive suggestion.

Doesn't Shelly's words, “If winter comes can spring be far behind?” Lovely lines on ‘hope’ and prayers for a change in one's despair. But of all these, the most endearing, thought-providing lines were in Thomas Grays’ ‘Elegy'. It is a sad poem. A poem that makes one to think about oneself and the world around. “Full many a gem is buried beneath in the bottom of the sea. A gem of pure serene which loses its lustre under the sand. Unseen – Full many a flower blooms in the desert air. Chill penury makes some of the brightest of gems to be buried unheard of. Our country is on a righteous road, whereby our gems and flowers in the villages will glitter and blush among all citizens. Again, a poignant thought of Gray. ‘It is every man's wish – from the pavement dweller to kings wish that some one sheds a tear when the person is in eternal slumber. People may say, ‘I don't want anyone at my funeral. A fallacy. All pray for mourners round the bier.

‘The Snake’

D.H. Lawrence rocked the literary world with his Lady Chatterly's Lover, but his poem,. ‘The Snake’ compels one to think. A thirsty man is at the well. He sees a venomous snake also at the well. Both of them want to quench their thirst. ‘Strike’ said his educated voice. ‘No’ said his conscience. Both had their water. One slithered away. The other walked away. Happily.

This was English poetry of yesteryear.

As for English poetry of today with to shed a tear
Your rhyme metre, alliteration is redundant and of no use,
Weep not my everlasting and beloved Muse,
But our Asian poetry will be there to
Glorify poetry and you in our lyrics in every day use,
And to be with you and your rhymes of enchanting hues

Finally, for the elders to ponder – the child is father of man – what line, what a poet

A poem by you know who
Decided to be vegetarian of no mean repute
At lettuce and cabbage, spinach and mulling, like our rabbits cute,
Then one night, like our ping gona I began to moo,
Every thing bull like except for one. Aney! What to do?
Fassers by chorusing the famous Sri Lankan ‘Hoo, Hoo’
Green stools, chewing the cud, a demented spouse
Led me to ping gona's bara, beside our sweet house

Alfred Nobel's Prize, ‘certain’ in the minds of the attending doctors I did arouse

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