Updated: May 16, 2022
When you step into the world of the poet, you leave your current thoughts, good or bad, behind for a moment.
This poetic suspension of disbelief provides a relief from life, its tension and mundanity. The way most of us do it is through music. At a time when social media screams out loud, poetry is louder still, in the form of song.
Poetry is an expression on the page that forms of fiction, books and short stories just can’t manage. Poetry literally transports the mind space of the poet and the reader of the poem, elevates them to a different imagined space - elated or despair, depending on the poem.
Take this verse from a song from the 1999 movie Rockford, written by Gulzar. The translated is version is from his book, 100 Lyrics.
Aasman ke, paar shayad, aur koi aasman hoga
Badalon ke parbaton par, koi barish ka makaan hoga
Main hawa ke paron pe kahaan, ja raha hoon kahaan
kabhi udta hua, kabhi mudta hua, mera raasta chala
beyond this sky, there must be yet another sky
on the mountains of the clouds, there must be the
abode of rain
on the wings of the breeze, I am off somewhere, where
my path twirls, at times soaring, at times forking
When you listen to this song, or watch the video, it leaves you with a sense of fun, yet nostalgia. No matter what frame of mind you’re thinking in, you ‘apparate’ for few imagined moments into what the song means. And with the information and advertisement-heavy world we live in, it can make all the difference. Music can cut a tense situation in half.
But you gotta put in the work, music and poetry need you to engage a bit. I mean the poet did, you need to put in just a little effort too. There is of course a time for simple entertaining songs when you’re exhausted and just need to switch off, this should be 5% of the time, in my opinion. But most of the time when the power of poetry is so close, you have to reach for it, either to switch the station, change the Spotify channel so you can listen to something new or different. The reward is well worth the switch because it changes the quality of your life.
When the music is sad or melancholy, it is a validation of our feelings, that we are not the only people in the world who feel this way. When the music tells a story, we imagine the world created by the poet, bask in the beauty of his metaphors and expression, maybe bring it back into how we perceive our own life.
While music helps us filter life, it is also a form of catharsis and enables us to process our emotions. In our back-to-back appointments culture, we just don’t have the time to emotionally engage with the happenings of the day and the issues just keep piling up like our back spasms. And so at night we can’t sleep because of the back pain and over thinking. Cue: music at midnight.
I honestly think, the more we engage with art before engaging with others, the quality of our lives, our thoughts and the world will improve. When we listen to a Prateek Kuhad or Naezy / Divine and just take a beat, a moment to chill, we get a little of their perspective on things and are less likely to be that worried about the smaller things. This in turn, bit by bit has the capacity to change the world because it will give our lives a happier colour on a day-to-day basis.
Today it is tougher than ever to connect and engage with the imagination, but I strongly urge this. It is the only thing that will save us from this ‘hustle’ mindset and connect us back to our hearts. Use the knife of music and cut the stress.
We need music and poetry and in the words of Jordan Peterson, it touches even the most cynical of us. Maybe this is why, despite all of the social media content out there, Bohemian Rhapsody still sounds the loudest.