“Poets are the interpreters of gods,” said Socrates. Poets are the original story tellers. They laid the foundation of our culture, literature, classics with their vivid imagination, metaphors, imagery, allegories, and narration of history. Homer’s epic poems, “The Iliad”, a history of Trojan war, and “The Odyssey”, the journey of Ulysses, still stir passions among writers. Virgil’s “Aeneid”, depicting the destruction of Troy and Aeneas’s journey to establish a new kingdom at Rome, is a journey we all seek to find an Utopian place. The Renaissance period blossomed the works of Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, and the immortal works of Shakespeare. Poetic wisdom of continued in Far East with Hindu epics of Mahabharat and Ramayan. The middle eastern regions immortalized the words of Omar Khayyam, Khalil Gibran, Rumi, Mirza Ghalib, as the geniuses of Milton, Keats, Browning, Tennyson and Robert Frost still stimulates are emotions and passions. Poetry is meditation to me.
I am not a poet. I never intended to be a poet. It just happened, by chance, just like many things in my life. I read poetry as a young boy – Browning, Tennyson, Milton, and the other English poets. As I grew, I read the classics: Homer, Dante and others, not necessarily understanding all of them, but I enjoyed them anyway. Later, I relished the works of Khalil Gibran, Omar Khayyam and Rumi. I fell in love with Urdu poetry and absorbed the works of Mirza Ghalib and other Urdu poets. In essence, I read poetry regardless of the source.
It was 1983, when I wrote my first poem. I did not know I could write poetry. I knew I loved reading poetry. It was a very challenging period for me. I was successful professionally, but I wanted to discover myself. I reflected on my life’s journey and wondered where it will take me next. I saw myself as a traveler through life, visiting strange lands, meeting new people, and learning from new cultures and societies.
One day, I picked up a pen and started writing. I named the writing, “The Traveler”. I did not know that it will become a poem.
I kept writing whatever came into my mind until I finished the poem. I did not know what I had written, but it felt good. I read my poem for the first time and liked it. I was writing for myself. It dawned on me that maybe I can write other poems. Initially, I wrote poems sporadically, but now I write frequently on whatever topic comes to mind.
I get ideas for poems as I write my journal or as I observe life around me. I create a title that later becomes a theme for a poem. Sometime later, I complete the poem. My muse comes in a crowded place where I can observe people. I carry my writing book and a fountain pen. All my poems are handwritten with pen and ink, a flow from my mind through the ink and onto the paper. Once I start a poem, I complete it in one writing spell. Later, as the collections of poems increase, I transfer them onto my computer under a book title. Such is my creative life in this worldly jungle.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
– Robert Frost
I now have written over 1,500 poems and will continue to write as long as I live. I never intended to be a poet, but I enjoy writing for myself. It makes me feel me. I am in touch with myself. It is a meditative stage. It is euphoric. It is a continuous learning experience.