It’s been a while since I wrote a verse. I have been recycling old poems and every time I put pen to paper the inspiration evades me. Everything I write seems to be either dispassionate or incomplete. I hold the pen between my fingers and stare at the lines on the page somehow feeling like I am confined to the space between them. I either end up writing mismatched lines without rhythm or emotional tirades that make better essays. It’s as if I have forgotten how to write poetry. There was a time when I used to write poems in dozens and at the drop of a hat. It was like the verses came in waves. Now the verses are lost and so am I.
I sat and looked through my folders filled with poems and they now feel like they were written by someone else. Now I have tucked my diaries in the last drawer of my bedside table, a drawer filled with notebooks all containing musings and verses neatly stacked. My stationery lies on my table catching dust. It’s a crime if you ask me. But it’s not for the lack of my trying. I attended two poetry slams since I was back, performing some of my favourite poems from the lot. I then got wrapped up in bringing my life back on track. It sapped me of my creativity as far as poetry was concerned.
Even if I did write a verse, it fell flat, it carried no value. I don’t know if it’s possible to unlearn poetry. I tried to read other poets’ works to get back to my writing. This is my biggest heartbreak yet. I haven’t lost hope though, I try for a few minutes every day. I wait at the window of my soul hoping that my inspiration returns to me. I’m just not sure how long it will be. Poetry wasn’t just some old pastime, it was an extension of my soul. I used to reveal only that poetry which didn’t speak too much of me to the rest of the world. Poetry was my first love.
My most intimate verses remain locked away, for a special moment. There is no other form of expression that is as impactful or one that if used well can say the maximum with minimum words. It’s fascinating. Good poetry used to make all the difference between a bad and a good day for me. I would scribble poems in my notebooks the way some people doodle. Poems were my friends when I had none, they were like my very own secret language because not many could catch the meaning on the first try. It was the most precious gift I would give people who were important to me. With poetry, I never felt alone.
Poems make little things seem larger than life, things that are always present but somehow manage to escape your notice. My poems are my most important treasure, I haven’t made as many copies of anything I have ever written as many as I have made of my poetry. If anyone asks me to choose between all the world’s gold and my secret verses I’d choose my poetry. I am half the person I am without my poetry. I know I shouldn’t give this much importance to one aspect of myself but I can’t help it. I have tried.
I know one day I’ll write again, one day I’ll write a poem again and a good one too. It’s a terribly lonely wait. What can one do when they’re feeling empty? Those blank pages look parched, it’s like depriving them of their meaning. But worse than not filling them would be to write insincere lines. What would be the point of that? I’d be lying to myself. Some days I feel like I should just give up, but every day I open my file of poems on my laptop, scroll down, read a couple and wait for the similar magic to happen once again, but in vain. It’s a cycle.
I credit all my knowledge of the harder things in life to poetry, it explained love, darkness, truth, death, and life to me better than any teacher, better than my parents did. It taught me about humans and reminded me that I was human too. I suppose this post is an ode to poetry. The part of my life that I made the fewest mistakes in was my poetry, and even when I made a mistake it never felt like one. It’s that one place in my life that I never have to feel shy about, never have to console myself, hold myself together or think twice about. In my poetry, I held a mirror to my soul and faced my truth.
I don’t think I have been a stranger to myself as much as I have been in these past few months. Everything is unrecognisable, from the blank pages to the circle beneath my eyes. It’s like I am putting myself back together from scratch. I wish it weren’t like this, I wish I could just make things move faster, I am tired. I want my poetry back. In other words, I want myself back. There is so much more poetry left to write, and not to mention so much more to read. I have to keep digging and till then I’ll keep writing here, there, wherever I can. If not poetry something else. Bit by bit I am going to put the pieces back together. I think, how many times can the universe knock me out till it gives up? Either I give up or it does, but I still have a lot of fight left in me.