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Wings of Poesy

March 21, 2012

For generations, people have thought poetry to be a bunch of Rhyming verses, placed vertically. But in realty there’s more to poetry than what you think. So ever since I read somewhere that March 21st is “World poetry day” I’ve been wanting to write this.

What’s the power in poetry? (picked up from some random pages)

Wordsworth defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings;” Emily Dickinson said, “If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry;”

Poetry is evocative. It typically evokes in the reader an intense emotion: joy, sorrow, anger, catharsis, love… Alternatively, poetry has the ability to surprise the reader with an Ah Ha! Experience — revelation, insight, further understanding of elemental truth and beauty.

Poetry is stronger than you think. Poetry is imagination and will break those chains faster than the time time you take to think and react.

Not many people who know me, really know how much I admire poetry simply because I don’t talk about it or I don’t have a reason to talk about it. Wikipedia says that UNESCO declared March 21st as the Word poetry day in the year 1999.

“Wings of poesy” was my prescribed text book for class 10, and if you’d have done ICSE between the years, 2001 to 2006 / 07 you’d know what I’m talking about. For others, it was a text book containing just poems. I don’t remember how many poems were in it (as my aunt who fell in love with my text book after my schooling, misplaced it- and it was never found, or has my aunt hidden it?? 😛 ). I had meanings written after every verse, sad I lost it 😦

I’d also like to highlight that teachers are people who make a subject interesting, & who influence in making you like a subject. I’ve always found this to be true in many cases, at least when it comes to mine. My English teacher was splendid. If a pin would drop in her class, that would be heard quite loud. Her class used to be a journey and not just a class, which I realize now! And you can probably say that she was the one who strengthened this interest in me.

Though some years have been passed since I completed my schooling, some things, some subjects, some lessons, something, anything that would have caught your eye at that age is almost permanently etched in your mind. One of those things for me is definitely Wings of Poesy. I will not hesitate to say that I remember some of those verses and can recall them almost in an instant. On the other side, I can say I’ve forgotten Chemistry totally and please, not that my teacher was bad at teaching it 😛 , but simply because it didn’t appeal to me.

Poem and poetry?

Poem and poetry are interchangeably used although there is a minor difference in their inner meanings. A poem can be considered as a fundamental unit of poetry. You can also say that poetry is made of “poems”, or poems fudge together to create an art called poetry.

Poet is someone who composes poems and creates poetry in the process of doing so.

I’m not a poet but I appreciate the art!

I have a collection of some of my favourite poems from School, thanks to google! And I have put them up here.

1. The Education of Nature

THREE years she grew in sun and shower;
Then Nature said, “A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown:
This child I to myself will take;
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.

“Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse; and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.

“She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;
And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.

“The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
Ev’n in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden’s form
By silent sympathy.

“The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place,
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.

“And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give,
While she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.”

Thus Nature spake—the work was done—
How soon my Lucy’s race was run!
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.

-William Wordsworth

2. Upagupta

Upagupta, the disciple of Buddha, lay sleep in
the dust by the city wall of Mathura.
Lamps were all out, doors were all shut, and
stars were all hidden by the murky sky of August.
Whose feet were those tinkling with anklets,
touching his breast of a sudden?
He woke up startled, and a light from a woman’s
lamp fell on his forgiving eyes.
It was dancing girl, starred with jewels,
Wearing a pale blue mantle, drunk with the wine
of her youth.
She lowered her lamp and saw young face
austerely beautiful.
“Forgive me, young ascetic,” said the woman,
“Graciously come to my house. The dusty earth
is not fit bed for you.”
The young ascetic answered, “Woman,
go on your way;
When the time is ripe I will come to you.”
Suddenly the black night showed its teeth
in a flash of lightening.
The storm growled from the corner of the sky, and
The woman trembled in fear of some unknown danger.

A year has not yet passed.
It was evening of a day in April,
in spring season.
The branches of the way side trees were full of blossom.
Gay notes of a flute came floating in the
warm spring air from a far.
The citizens had gone to the woods for the
festival of flowers.
From the mid sky gazed the full moon on the
shadows of the silent town.
The young ascetic was walking along the lonely street,
While overhead the love-sick koels uttered from the
mango branches their sleepless plaint.
Upagupta passed through the city gates, and
stood at the base of the rampart.
Was that a woman lying at his feet in the
shadow of the mango grove?
Stuck with black prestilence, her body
spotted with sores of small-pox,
She had been hurriedly removed from the town
To avoid her poisonous contagion.
The ascetic sat by her side, took her head
on his knees,
And moistened her lips with water, and
smeared her body with sandal balm.
“Who are you, merciful one?” asked the woman.
“The time, at last, has come to visit you, and
I am here,” replied the young ascetic.

-Rabindranath Tagore

3. The Man with a Hoe

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back, the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this–
More tongued with cries against the world’s blind greed–
More filled with signs and portents for the soul–
More packed with danger to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of the Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time’s tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings–
With those who shaped him to the thing he is–
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?

-Edwin Markham (He was inspired by a painting by a french artist to write this poem)

4. The Eve Of Waterloo

HERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium’s capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it? — No; ’twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! — that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is — it is — the cannon’s opening roar!
Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick’s fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death’s prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness.
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne’er might be repeated; who would guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips — “The foe! they come! they come!”
-Lord Byron
(It relates the events of the night before the battle of Quatre Bras, which was fought near Brussels, the capital of Belgium, on June 16, 1815, and was the preliminary of the great battle of Waterloo, fought two days later.)
A word before my next poem. It is called a sonnet.
Before Shakespeare’s day, the word “sonnet” meant simply “little song,” i.e., a short lyric poem. A Shakespearean, or English, sonnet consists of 14 lines, each line containing ten syllables.
More can be read about Sonnets if you desire, google is free!
5. Sonnet 116 (I’m unsure if I read this in my school or college, but it is good enough to be written here)
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
-William Shakespeare
It is an impossible task to pull out 5 poems out of so many wonderful ones out there, it is. Just to fill up the space for the day, remember, and promote them, because it is an art that DESERVES appreciation!
30 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2012 5:26 pm

    What a beautiful way of marking the day!

    Learnt and polished few things I know. Thanks for sharing the third poem…:)

    • March 23, 2012 10:59 am

      Welcome to my blog 🙂 Yes, third one is a masterpiece. Glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂

  2. Arpit permalink
    April 23, 2012 8:52 am

    was searching for the poem “The Education of nature’, actually i had forgotten the title, but thanks to you, finally i got it . 🙂

  3. aSd permalink
    October 9, 2012 8:46 pm

    aaahhh. . . please i request anyone who has the book to post a poem that was probably at the end of the book and about a lover mourning his dead partner. . . it was listed as written by anonymous. . . thanks in advance

    • June 24, 2013 6:38 pm

      If I get hold of this book, I’ll definitely post it here 🙂 Thanks for coming by.

  4. November 15, 2012 4:11 am

    Hey i was searching for the poems in wings of poesy…i lost ma book….thanks for posting few here…Hop you will post more…..

  5. Jeet permalink
    December 30, 2012 3:48 pm

    Can anyone please tell me where I can buy this book ‘Wings of Poesy’. Does any online megastore like flipkart, etc. have it (please provide the URL). Also, please give the publishers and editors if you can? What was your poetry book for ISC?

    • June 24, 2013 6:42 pm

      No success in finding it upto now. If I do, I’ll paste the link here 🙂 Thanks for coming by.

  6. aroopsan permalink
    February 17, 2013 6:36 pm

    I share the same feelings as you about this book. and sadly back then i did not appreciate poetry like i do now. All the poems were a work of art. I liked ‘Harp of India’ mainly coz it said so much in so little. but glad u mentioned the book in your blog

    • June 24, 2013 6:43 pm

      Thank you aroopsan. 🙂 Glad to know that you too share the same feelings 🙂 Each poem were truly a work of art.

      • aroopsan permalink
        April 14, 2014 6:30 pm

        I found a copy of the book from a friend! 😀

  7. Akanksha permalink
    March 19, 2013 7:24 am

    I owe a heartfelt thanks to you for posting those poems i read during schooldays.. each of them best of its kind. Though when i read them during school, i just took the literal meaning of words but reading them now helped me in deciphering the hidden meaning in the words. Best were those days.. cherishing schooltime memories.. 🙂

    • June 24, 2013 6:49 pm

      I’m so happy it helped you recollect and cherish schooltime memories 🙂 This always reminds me of my 10th grade. The more you read these poems, the more you’ll enjoy reading them. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. April 14, 2013 7:57 am

    i lost by school book too . . but i love and miss those poems . thanks for posting online . . My teachers were very good i remember these bcoz of them . .
    Rohit Gagan .

    • June 24, 2013 6:51 pm

      Hi Rohit, Glad that I was able to help you revive your schooltime memories 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  9. amar permalink
    June 14, 2013 10:40 pm

    thank you a tons 🙂

    i was finding the william wordworth poem from this book for long time .i m happy.thanks again

    • June 24, 2013 6:52 pm

      I’m so glad you were able to find the poem you were looking for 🙂 Thanks for coming by.

  10. October 11, 2013 3:51 pm

    Bro can you please give me index of all the poems in wings of poesy ?
    Really missing them.

  11. Ankit permalink
    January 23, 2014 8:27 pm

    Thanks for these lovely poems..
    Does anyone remember which poem was it one of whose lines says “There is terror in the name of death, but in death there is peace”

  12. sumit permalink
    March 12, 2014 6:48 am

    Goin through these poems gave me sudden rush of nostalgia. Now I want to meet the walrus and the carpenter 🙂

  13. Ankana permalink
    November 5, 2014 9:53 am

    Wow,I’ve been looking for my wings of poesy book for the longest time and after a few failed attempts I’m here reading these poems. Thank you so much for reuniting me with my long lost love. Cheers!

  14. January 14, 2015 1:25 pm

    Just recalled the good old days of school 🙂 thank you for the poems! I lost my book years ago and here I am again going through them word by word.. I still remember the names of the other poems like The Walrus and the carpenter, The Forsaken Merman etc. The book had all the wonderful poems one can read at one place!

  15. Rahul permalink
    January 22, 2015 10:55 am

    Feeling Nostalgia:) Thank you:)

  16. baishakhi permalink
    March 11, 2015 1:22 pm

    hi its amazing to read these poems after so long. I was searching for a poem that described a chamber of some princess or queen, her chamber was described it had precious jems and jewels something made of ebony and ivory. I can’t recall the name of the author or the title of the poem. It would be really helpful if you could help me find that.

  17. April 29, 2015 6:17 am

    Thank you so much for this post. There was one “The Walrus and the Carpenter” in the latter half of the book. That was the longest one i learnt. I wish someone could give a list of all the poems in “The Wings of Poesy”. I’m feeling like reading all of them all over again.

  18. Aakash permalink
    April 29, 2015 7:27 pm

    The two facts that connects us here is 1 we all love that book 2 we all unwillingly misplaced it.
    I remember one more from that the mermaid one
    if any gentleman has still have that plz upload the book we all be very grateful

  19. Sandhya permalink
    February 24, 2016 10:23 am

    So happy to see these lines . Studied in 9/10th of school.Even I was looking for poems of this books. There were few other poems of this book , l still like those but ddin’t remember. Thanks for such a lovely memory of this book.

  20. syeda firdous permalink
    May 22, 2016 5:39 am

    I still knew the poem education of the nature by heart… OMG .. i never knew that..!!

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