Why do people write poetry? Where does it come from? Why are we fascinated by its charms? Not just because of its literary value, or its figures of speech or its rhyme. We read and study poetry, simply because, as Prof. Keatings said in Dead Poets’ Society, we’re all a part of humankind. And humanity is filled with passion. The passion for success, for knowledge, for love, for satisfaction, for overcoming grief, for harmony. For these things are those that we live for. Such passion is the very reason for our survival. And on the lap of such passion, poetry is born.
It is so much more than we think of it to be. It is that form of composition which creates music in itself; music that a piece of every human soul identifies with. It reflects life with all its intricacies and generous blessings. To write poetry is to think free thoughts, even when one might be confined to the dark cave of one’s lifeless world, and entangled with chains of the past, of worldly obsessions and the superficial self they create. ‘Die Gedanken sind frei’ says a German song, meaning ‘the thoughts are free’. And the persons who can delve and drift in the perennial rivers of thought, and do so with passion and an unquenchable thirst for expression, touch the Ocean-God a thousand times, and contribute to it, even if in the form a small droplet. The minds of such persons often conceive revolution, and the words dripping from their fingers are often treasured through the years, engraved in gold on the walls of humanity.
I love the way hoe poetry and its influence baffles so many minds; sometimes even my own. And I never have been able to find a better and more satiating answer to it than what Prof. Keating (played by Robin Williams) explaining to his class the essence of poetry and its very existence, and why we are as people drawn to its world of radiance.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” ~John Keating, Dead Poets’ Society.
So, what will your verse be?