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Celebrate World Poetry Day with Owliver5 min read

March 21, 2021 4 min read

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Celebrate World Poetry Day with Owliver5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s time to rhyme without a reason, express without hesitation, alter spellings for consistency, and play with words! It is time to celebrate World Poetry Day!

Poetry is powerful and pleasurable, personal and political, real and imaginary. Most of all, poetry is expression!
Remember our young poets from Slam Out Loud?

March 21 is celebrated as World Poetry Day all over the world.

On this World Poetry Day, Owliver brings to you his five favourite poems that will leave you thinking, and feeling.
After all, what is poetry if not (as the poet Wordsworth said) “…a spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions.”

So, get your emotions ready for a ride through poetry!

Stopping by the Woods on A Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

The poem talks about a person’s need to walk along the journey of life with its many responsibilities and duties. So, while the traveller stops by to admire the beauty of the woods in the snow, and ruminate over who this stunning place belongs to, he eventually continues along his journey as he has ‘promises to keep.’

This poem is great to read when you want to play a game, but have to finish an assignment! But jokes aside, this poem also reminds us to enjoy the momentary pleasures of life while also staying true to the responsibilities that life brings our way. So stop by the woods for a moment but if the promises you have made need you to move on, then move along!

The lines from the poem shown in the image on the left were also underlined in the book Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, kept at his bedside table.

Still I Rise, Maya Angelou

Still I Rise is a poem on self-love. It talks about accepting oneself as one is. Angelou focuses on individual victory over historic struggle by loving oneself, accepting oneself, and rising again and again, like nature. The poem talks about reclaiming dignity and respect by people who have remained on the margins through self-love.

Angelou has left many gems for the world to live by, including her feminist poem, Phenomenal Woman, that posits women outside the space of beauty standards, again towards self-love and acceptance.

Try reading one of her poems out loud, and not coming out feeling stronger about yourself! Now, that’s a challenge I hope all of us lose.

Where the Mind is Without Fear, Rabindranath Tagore

This poem was written by Tagore in the pre-Independence era as a call to his fellow citizens to move towards a life of dignity and respect. It was a call to the citizens of the country to realise the importance of living in a free country, “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”.

The poem serves as a reminder now for us to uphold Tagore’s words and work towards ensuring that our country, and the world as a whole, remain free and just. The poem is featured in a longer collection of songs, called Gitanjali, that took Tagore’s works all over the world.
Tagore wrote many songs, including one that became India’s National Anthem.

I, Too by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes wrote I, Too in 1926 when racism was rampant in the United States of America. This is a time when social and economic inequality was practiced against African-Americans. The poem comments on this exclusion by reiterating that ‘I’ is American too. ‘I’ sings the national anthem of America, too. Thus implying that, ‘I’ must be given equal rights, access, and dignity in the nation.

The ‘I’ in the poem stands for every person of African American origin who has been discriminated against.
For readers distanced by time (and maybe even geography), the poem reminds us to raise our voice against any form of injustice and inequality.

The poem was modelled on Walt Whitman’s poem, I Hear America Singing, published in 1860.

Song of a Dream, Sarojini Naidu

And what is poetry if not a soft sway into the land of imagination!

Here’s a poem by Sarojini Naidu that takes us to the land of dreams. In this poem, Naidu presents to the reader a scene from a dream, where she finally meets Peace, Love, and Truth.

Can you guess why they are capitalised in the poem?

Beautiful imagery, similes, and metaphors light the poem, and bring the reader into the wood, where the dream is set.

Have you ever had a dream like that? Where do you go off to in your dreams? Read Naidu’s poem and write something like that. Owliver will love to read a poem about your dream.

There are many more gems out there in the world of poetry in multiple languages! Explore more, and share your thoughts with Owliver at hello@owliverspost.com.