April, I hear, is National Poetry Month.
Only in the United States, technically,
but we can, we should appropriate it for the global village too.
And so here I am, wondering how to celebrate NPM this morning
While at my desk, waiting for my phone to charge
And the laundry cycle to finish.
Maybe I’ll cook up a little rhyme and get it out of my system.
If I don’t write an ode
My head will explode.
That’s bad. I should leave this sort of thing to the pros
And stick to prose.
Maybe I’ll tell you what comes to mind when I think poetry.
I think of how the word reminds me of a little boy
Being told by his mother to make an attempt at writing The Raven.
I hope you’re not one of those who sneer at wordplay.
I remember how I used to love the name Christina Georgina Rossetti.
Such a balanced name, three syllables in each part, bobbing like a boat.
How could such a child not grow up to be a poet?
The author of The Raven…
Meet a Thomas Hardy heroine.
I like talking about poetry because of the terms, that special glossary.
Phrases like “iambic pentameter” that you don’t use anywhere else,
certainly not in daily life.
I’ll have a side of iambic pentameter to go, please.
But wait! We do use “refrain” and “meter”, even “rhyme”
Even after we grow up and forget the poems in English class
And “refrain” comes to mean “don’t do this, without reason or rhyme.”
Poetry turns into practicality, a kati roll to munch on the way,
An online banking transaction you do in your pyjamas.
I wonder how we lose poetry so easily
Despite being so delighted, as kids, by owls and pussycats
In beautiful pea-green boats.
Despite the hard alliterations of The Eagle –
He clasps the crag with crooked hands –
That almost make you feel those talons.
Oh I know.
We don’t need poetry to make us feel those talons anymore.
We have talon videos on the web and the National Geographic channel
Not to mention owls.
Though for pea-green boats you may still need to turn an ear
To Edward Lear.
An edited version of this piece can be found here. Copyright ©2015 The Hindu. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.