Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italiano
Poetry at breakfast. I like to start my day, at the end of my morning ritual, with a brief poetry reading. Few verses are enough to evoke an atmosphere that I soak up for several hours. Often, it is just what I need to process certain emotions or to give direction to my thoughts, avoiding stagnation.
Here are a few reasons why it is absolutely worth devoting ourselves to poetry. Even if we are creatures of the new millennium, used to indulge in new – fashioned habits.
1. A poem can be short and effective as a Tweet
Tweets have an established length of characters and produce an effective communication that is precisely a result of the imposed summary. The small number of characters force us to condense a complex thought into a few words, transforming the limit of brevity in an effective weapon. There is nothing new under the sun: poetry has been doing that for over 4000 years. Take for example one of the shortest poems of all time, the poem Morning, by Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti.
I flood myself with light
of the immense.
So inspiring! A new potential of joy and hope emerge and flood us with light, as we contemplate life as a gift and as already perfect in itself. A title, two lines, 5 words (including the title), 27 characters. A perfect tweet, a true meme. #milluminodimmenso # Ifloodmyselfwithlightoftheimmense.
Japanese haikus, composed of three lines – five, seven, and five syllables, respectively – are another example of a short poem that can, in a few instants, enlighten our day. They are “Little drops of poetic essence” as the big expert on Japanese culture Sir George Sansom called them.
ran no ka ya
chō no tsubasa ni
― Matsuo Basho
Even when a poem is anything but short, we can choose a few preeminent verses of great significance for us.
A short poem is perfect to cross the oceans of the web, surfing the internet and illuminating our lives through social media, with perspective and vision.
2. Poetry can act as a Mantra and can help us focusing on emotions and thoughts
Mantras are sacred expressions and powerful spiritual formulas used to meditate, pray and convey thoughts. For those who do not practice meditation, but still want to get more clarity in their lives, poetic verses can be a valuable resource. Acting as a Mantra, they can lead mind and spirit towards the evolution of consciousness and being.
Poems can inspire us in the transformation of thoughts and emotions, helping us to work on both. We can elaborate our views and feelings, in order to eliminate those that are toxic and dysfunctional, and to feed those that lead us to the realization of the best version of ourselves.
Choosing poems that are evocative for us, we may venture into our everyday life led by a prominent image without losing sight of balance, desires, goals, and serenity.
3. Poems can change the way we watch and listen to the world around us
Great poets have offered us a large and powerful vision of nature, life, and man. So, when we read their poetic work, we open ourselves up to reflection and wonder.
Poetry allows us to reconnect and re-engage deeply with a world that often, in our daily lives, we take too much for granted.
While we are reading our favourite verses, a new light falls on the world around us, on our experiences and relationships, intensifying the sense of everything we live.
4. Poetry is exciting
Poetry isn’t boring at all! Rather than using a logical and rational language, poems talk by metaphors and symbols, in the same way as imagination does. And it’s not just that: when we read poetry, we activate also some areas of the brain which are responsible for emotions.
Poems, in fact, stimulate the right brain, the creative one. The right hemisphere is in charge, among many other things, of comprehending visual imagery and to storing autobiographical memory. By reading verses, therefore, we experience deep emotions because we compare what we read with our own experience.
This profound involvement is also manifested at the physical level and we get that nice shiver down our spine, as it occurs when we listen to music. And it is all demonstrated by science: the discovery is the work of a group of researchers at the University of Exeter UK. (Journal of Consciousness Studies).
5. Poetry has rhythm. It is music made of words (to be appreciated in the original language)
Poetry is the art of words in their entirety: meaning and sound. Patterns of syllables coming at regular intervals define the shape and the rhythm of a poem, but it is sound the key factor for developing musicality in a poem. In fact, even when it is composed of free verses, poetry is music made of words: unusual combinations bring out the melodic aspect of language.
The subtle art of weaving relations between meaning and sound is the essence of the poetic craft. So, it’s very difficult to translate a poem into languages other than the original. If it is true that often the sense is preserved, sound and original rhythm go irretrievably lost. To fully grasp the rhythmic and musical aspect of the poem, the verses should, therefore, be enjoyed in the original language, out loud, with translation at hand. A tip: if the poem is written in a language that you can’t read, look for a video in which the verses are recited by a native speaker. Luckily, there are plenty of them out there.
Paul Eluard, Uninterrupted Poetry