This blog was originally published on Medium.
Let’s start with a poem.
This one, a personal favorite by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Perfection in the egg, a fluid thing,
Grows solid in due course, and there exists;
Knowing no urge to struggle forth and sing;
Complete, though shell bound. But the mind insists
What does that mean to you?
“Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity — it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts and appear almost a remembrance.”John Keats
If you’re reading this, congratulations — you’re alive.Tweet
And to be sure, this is no small feat. To simply exist in this form is to have run the gauntlet of inescapable probabilities and emerge, victorious?
Or at the very least, emerge.
World renowned social icon and diva of grand acclaim, Nicki Minaj, told us what we needed to hear; and, on this occasion, I concur.
Us overgrown primates have for the last 10,000 years lived in a world ruled by the ego. We have accomplished quite a bit in that end, subdued plants, animals, each other. Created information superhighways and technological marvels, all while still managing to bring Twinkies back in the process.
We’ve done a lot of bad.
And sure, we’ve done some good — but often, for bad reasons.
Our propensity towards violence and misunderstanding has been a pronounced theme across the history of our race, and we have yet to evolve past our most base desires despite our soul’s beckon forward.
That is why I love poetry.
For it speaks directly to the part of us that is yearning for its day in the sun.
“Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.”Percy Bysshe Shelley
Our most strong willed, bombastic, politically savvy, or intuitive leaders — cannot save us.
That tough job of self-discovery and application must have it’s start from within, or else it becomes a mere shadow of the reality we wish to inhabit.
We exchange our true lives for fake safety, and wonder why we’re sad all the time. Truth is, the cognitive dissonance we experience is the result of disobedience to our true selves in lieu of our ego.
Its no wonder, we spend a majority of our free time captured by our mini super computers, filling the voids in our hearts with meaningless fodder and Pavlovian discontent. Rushing from one task to the next, never taking the time to stop,
And just be.
That is why I love poetry
For It can allow us, in those moments where the whirlwinds of life seem too strong to bear, to slow down and breathe.
And, even if only for a second, to rest in the realization that we’re not alone.
“It is a test [that] genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”
T. S. Eliot
When I come across a particularly illuminating collection of words, I get visibly excited. The potential of engaging deeply with a mind other than my own is something that fuels my search for the good in all.
The fact that I can have conversations with people I’ve never met, whose bodies have decomposed long ago, and whose first language may not have even been English — is something that I am in constant awe of.
It is a time travel of ideas, in a sense — I, as a vessel of the 21st century, have the simple role of receiving from, and thinking about, and improving upon concepts born millennia ago.
That is why I love poetry
For in our rush to be right, we’re often reminded about the utter depth of our ignorance, and in those moments, we can either choose to evolve, or remain.
Poetry will present you with countless opportunities to live, laugh, love, cry, understand, and ultimately, grow.
You’ll just have to take ‘em.
(Also, you should go and re-watch Dead Poets Society — like yesterday)