What can a poem do? A walk with verse

While there are many eulogies written for the power of poems, have we ever thought about how poems can do so many magical things? The time is now! In this article, I will explore the world of poetry that’s not only powerful but also full of rhythm and divinity, sorrows and sufferings, vigour and winning, and so many other colours of emotions. If a novel is an HD rendition of one’s imagination, a poem is the 4K version of the same! A poem can do many things that we can imagine and a few that we cannot!

Let’s understand poems, shall we? Beginning with the possible definition, poetry is a special form of literature that uses language to evoke emotion, paint vivid pictures with words, and create a musical quality through the use of rhythm and sound. So, unlike prose fiction which uses only words and moulds them into sentiments, poems have words and music too. And therefore, in many cases, poems offer a unique and powerful way to communicate ideas and emotions. It can be a source of inspiration, solace, and connection for readers. When you read a sad poem in your sorrows, you may feel the pain of the poet as well. For instance, reading A Photograph by Shirley Toulson may help you understand what losing someone close and beloved feels like. Reading T. S. Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock can make you feel disillusioned with the world first-hand. At the same time, reading something like a red red rose may help you relish the joys of love! Poems come with added advantages too. For example, reading poems can also help to expand one’s vocabulary and understanding of language, as well as stimulate the imagination and encourage critical thinking. Well, the thing I just wrote may depend upon one’s ability to grasp what he or she reads. Additionally, poetry can be a way to learn about different perspectives and experiences and can provide a rich source of cultural and historical insights. Overall, reading poems can be a rewarding and enriching experience that can deepen one’s understanding of the world and oneself. Wordsworth’s Prelude or John Keats’ poems about his life may be a great way to look at everything from fresh perspectives. Reading Sri Aurobindo brings new light to readers and helps them understand the world through a spiritual lens.

Now you ask, how can poems evoke so many emotions? Let me tell you in brief.

Language: Poets often use specific words and phrases to convey emotion. As someone great said, the best words in the best order make poetry happen! For a basic example, a poet might use words with positive connotations to convey happiness or excitement, or use words with negative connotations to convey sadness or anger. They might also use figurative language, also called poetic embellishments, such as metaphors and similes, to help the reader more vividly experience the emotion being described.

Imagery: Imagery comes in handy for poets. And they often use vivid, descriptive imagery to help the reader visualize and experience the emotions being presented through words. A poet might describe a beautiful sunset to convey a sense of peace and contentment or might describe a turbulent storm to convey a sense of anger or turmoil. Eliot’s evening that’s like a ‘patient etherised upon a table’ juxtaposed to Robert Burns’ ‘love is like a red red rose’ may help you understand imagery in a convenient way.

Structure: The structure of a poem can also convey emotions of various kinds. An Elizabethan sonnet of 14 lines written in the perfect meter will often be about something positive and beautiful. In other words, a particular rhyme scheme and meter might convey a sense of stability and order to the readers. While a poem with a more irregular or chaotic structure might convey a sense of chaos or confusion, disorder or disillusion. Take The Waste Land by T S Eliot as an example. At times, the length and format of a poem can also contribute to its emotional impact on readers.

Overall, poems can effectively capture and convey a wide range of emotions through the use of language, imagery, and structure.


Hope you enjoyed reading this short article. Keep reading poetry! You will love it. All the best!


By Madhav for Intellectual Reader


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