Sunday, May 13, 2012

The thing about poetry

Whether it’s Chuang-tzu or Yeats, poetry touches us in a soft spot. There is something magical about it. Yes, poetry is feminine. That’s why. It’s luscious, it’s dazzling and close to our heart. Poetry comes from the innards of our soul. Hence it touches us in a mysterious way.  This whole universe humming away in the distance is nothing but the poem of God – the one and only, that is.

Nowadays I hear that there are software programs in the market which create poetry. Fancy that. Is it real poetry or some juxtaposition of words, because for poetry to arise, it has to come from a feeling. Do machines feel? To the best of my knowledge, they don’t. Then how can they nuance the subtlety of such a thing as a poem? Well they don’t! They just copy styles of great poets.

And I guess anybody can do that. Are we really losing touch? In the future, if a machine passes the Turing test for a poetry, can we say that it also feels? Obviously, it doesn’t. But here’s the real test. If you read a poem and it touches you, then no matter, whether a machine or a human wrote it, it’s worth the commendation.  So let’s welcome these new people on board.

Now what about prose? That is more easier to write as it is flowing sequentially. Prose is masculine, hence it is more logical. However, that does not mean that prose can’t touch us. We can be moved after reading, say a novel. Be it fiction or non-fiction. Note that prose has the ability to paint a picture as it chugs along. Whereas poetry is more direct.

While we may have to read an entire set of 400 pages of prose to get the idea, poetry can be succinct. And still convey the same that a novel did. But it is not easy to write a feeling. Fine you have a feeling, how do you put them into words? Because words are just approximates. So the best you can do is whip up a fairly accurate description of your feeling. Wish we had a machine which could capture feelings.

And on and on it goes, but one thing is for sure. If there’s anything that makes us special, it’s our feelings and nobody can snatch that away from us. That is, till death do we part.

Wishes and Love


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