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Albert Einstein already described and affirmed the power of imagination when he said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” And poems, one of the oldest art forms of literature, have helped humans to convey their imagination to the world since time immemorial. From romanticizing nature to describing its destructive effects, poetry dives into every genre. Credit, of course, is due to the imagination of the poets since it is no less than a “thought experiment.” Perhaps many other art forms give the liberty of imagination, but poetry has an edge over others since it also provides liberty to the imagination of the reader! And, as we all are well aware, the best artworks leave room for the audience to think and imagine.

Expressing your thoughts is key to communication. The existence of heaven and hell is also because of imagination and expression of the same. None of us has ever experienced or witnessed it, yet the concept prevails. Words bring these concepts to life. It might be clearer after pondering over these lines: 

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हकीकत लेकिन दिल के खुश रखने को “ग़ालिब” यह ख्याल अच्छा है|~मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

(We know the reality of paradise, but to keep the heart happy; is a great thought.)

Though poems give space for everyone to think, it respects different perspectives and welcomes everyone with one heart. You could consider your beloved as petals of the flower, somebody else could treat them as the sun. The choice rests with the poet, and one is free to use it in different metaphorical ways. Therefore, poets have “poetic license” to present their versions of facts, and words or even bend grammatical rules.

The fact that poems have been read or heard throughout centuries is itself a great deal. One of the major reasons for the same could be attributed to the relatability factor of poetry. After all, who doesn’t relate to art? A poet’s crafted choice of words amplifies the expression(s) of a poem. These poems drive the reader to a different world of metaphors and analogies where the sun, the moon, and stars are not just celestial bodies but also a companion who understands your worries. 

Poems have also helped to shape people’s perspectives and are one of the best ways to talk about taboos. They were and still are used to spread knowledge about major revolutions and campaigns. For example, poems were used significantly to kindle the fire of patriotism at the time of the freedom struggle in India. Since that time, writers, poets, and artists have also been considered freedom fighters as they persuaded people through their works. Today, people use poetry to spread awareness on a multitude of contemporary issues, ranging from taboos to socio-political concerns. Poems and slogans are the lighting torch of pride parades. They help in the spread of powerful messages that question the veracity of orthodox traditional ideas and practices. Once talked about, these topics help people put forth their thoughts with reduced degrees of hesitation.

Well, if you couldn’t relate to what I have described above or just simply want to explore the world of poetry, here are a few classics that give you a peek into the beautiful world of poetry: 

1. ‘Madhushala’ by Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Legendary poet, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, used metaphors like “मधुशाला” which means ‘alcohol parlour’ to describe beautiful life lessons. If you go by literary words, it might seem like an ordinary poem, but behind these words exists the treasures of life. With every verse, new dimensions and valuable lessons are kept in front of the readers for them to interpret.

2. ‘Khooni Hastakshar’ by Gopal Prasad Vyas

This poem will ignite the fire of patriotism in your heart. It’s inspired by a speech by Subhash Chandra Bose delivered in Burma during India’s freedom struggle. 

3. ‘Koi Deewana Kehta Hai’ by Kumar Vishwas 

This is a contemporary poem especially enjoyed by youngsters. It deals with the genre of romance. Every verse conveys different phases and emotions of love, yet the tone of recitation of every verse remains the same throughout the poem. 

4. ‘Koshish Karne Walon Ki Kabhi Haar Nahi Hoti’ by Harivansh Rai Bachchan 

The poem is about motivation and uses inconspicuous situations of life to demonstrate how one should never give up. A must-read, one might say, during low phases in one’s life. 

5. ‘Maa Kah Ek Kahani’ by Maithilisharan Gupt

The said poetry expresses a conversation between a mother and a son, named Yashodhara and Rahul, the wife and son of Gautum Bodha, respectively. It summarises the victory of non-violence over violence.

6. ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost

Frost explains his journey of how he took the least walked path, which metaphorically may refer to different things in life for different readers. As reflected in the composition, this decision changed the poet’s life.

7. ‘Where The Mind Is Without Fear’ by Rabindranath Tagore

Through this poem, Rabindranath Tagore expresses the idea of democracy. He idealized a place where freedom is a necessity, not a luxury.

8. ‘The Brook’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson

This poem’s theme revolves around mortality and eternity. The speaker of the poem is a brook that recounts its adventures.

9. ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling

The writing has an advising tone where the speaker advises his son on how to live his life with modesty. A must-read when working towards a goal and success is not sure or otherwise.

10. ‘Song of the Open Road’ by Walt Whitman 

The poet describes a journey to an unnamed location where he has nothing but good fortune and no complaints. The theme is one of hope.

Roots of feelings hold the tree of literature tight so that the flowers of poetry can blossom. With that, cheers to these classic poems! Hope you too fall in love with them. Can’t wait for you to explore the endless dimension of words and expressions!

Kaushiki Gaur

Delhi North '24

An old school girl wandering behind words. Hello, I am currently pursuing BA Hons. in Economics. My college world is full of models, not the one you are thinking but economics models, maths, assumptions, basketball, few friends, poems, books and fun. Though my description of fun would not match with your's. I love to interact with new people and know their perspectives. Probably someday, even we can have a conversation! मैं लिखती हूं किसी की याद में नहीं, मगर खुद की तलाश में।