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What Is Poetry?

Is the lyrical rhyming of eloquent words to convey someone’s deeply rooted and emotions? Or is it just the ranting and raving of an individual who is frail and cannot handle the many trials and tribulations life brings? Poetry is a form of literature in which feelings, beliefs and concepts are explained with in a heightened manner. Poetry is a distinct style of literature as it incorporates rhythmic techniques in a collective manner. Poetry is more so an art than anything else. Poetry is an art form of old. Something cherished by scholars and laymen alike.

Poetry doesn’t follow the exact structure than a normal sentence does in terms of wording and grammar. Abstract grammar and formats are often used to create a certain aura when delving into the poem. For example, in a poem a line may read ‘as to flowers in field, was the hair on her head: colorful, flowing but rooted in murky darkness’. This line when translated from English to another language may not have such sinister meaning due to translation differences. This is what makes poetry that bit more enigmatic and captivating.

In the past times where the societies elite took up the literate population poetry was frequently employed as a means of storytelling, genealogy and law.  The Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic which includes poetry, was probably written in the 3rd century BCE. Ramayana is an ancient Indian poem which tells the story of the struggles of the divine prince Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.

As the nation’s became more learned the development of literacy gave rise to more personal poems being recited. The Greek started playing back ground music to these poetic lyrics which they called lyre. This performance of Greek lyrics started from about the seventh century BCE onward.

The oldest surviving poem is the “Epic of Gilgamesh”. The poetic piece is based on the history of King Gilgamesh, was written around 3000 BC in Mesopotamia on clay tablets. King Gilgamesh was the semi-mythic King of Uruk in Mesopotamia.

In the poem we see that the great king is thought to be too arrogant by the gods. The gods decide to rebuke him. They decide to send a wild man named Enkidu his way to humble him. Enkidu and Gilgamesh battle each other fiercely, becoming friends afterwards when neither succumbed to the other.

Ancient Chinese societies such as the Shi Jing developed poet pieces for rituals, as well as aesthetic and to signify importance. Another ancient (yet complex) Asian form of poetry is “Haiku”. Haiku is a highly structured traditional form of Japanese poetry. Haiku poems have exactly 3 lines, the first and last lines of a having 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. The extreme structure of the poem enhances the poems meaning. Poems big or small, with the bad grammar or highly structured as served the synonymous purpose of conveying emotions.

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