WRITE POETRY TO HEAL THE SOUL OF THE WORLD
By Dr. Leo Rebello
Penning a poem is about observing the world within or around you. It is also claimed that writing poetry is good for your mental health, especially in a world full of turmoil and stress.
A new study has found that writing poems, no matter how ‘bad’ they may appear, helps the brain to cope with emotional turmoil and to reduce anxiety, fear and sadness – the less vivid and descriptive the poem is, the better is the mental unloading.
According to Dr. Matthew Lieberman of California University, expressing one-self in print is “a sort of unintentional emotion regulation” as it inhibits parts of the brain linked to emotional turmoil, and increases activity in the region to do with self-control.
In their study findings released on Valentine’s Day 2009, the researchers proved the therapeutic powers of writing by scanning the brains of 30 people as they described distressing pictures. Dr. Lieberman and his team found that the act tended to reduce activity in the amygdala, that part of the brain, which deals with control of emotion and fear.
Anger is momentary madness. In our experiments too, we found, that poetry reading or writing regulates our distress and especially in the war zone, or to calm down those incarcerated in prisons, poetry writing has a profound calming effect on the agitated minds.
We have worked with hyperactive children. We have worked with children of disturbed families, those affected by riots and natural calamity and separated from parents, especially children whose parents are in jail or children who have been abused. Making them recite poems or teaching them how to write poetry, we invariably found, has an instant calming effect on them, as poetry is the language of the soul, language of peace and language of the universe. Like in meditation you listen to the inner voice, poetry is another medium to find the god within you – poetry reading or writing leads to awakened consciousness. If poetry is accompanied by lilting music, then listeners experience subliminal bliss and communion with the universal mind, which is perfect.
We had a teacher who taught us Sanskrit through slokas (psalms) and laid the foundation for study of poetry, philosophy of life and wisdom of the universe.
The poems of great poets exude warmth of love, embody sparks of societal unrest and goad the readers to a plan of action. Hence, a Poet is called an unacknowledged legislator of mankind. The best examples of uplifting poetry are “Prayer for Peace” by St. Francis of Assisi, or “Don’t Quit” by Anon, which have inspired millions from emotional abyss. Poetry lovers will also remember “The Impossible Dream” from La Mancha (Musical).
Like reverse osmosis, a method of extracting essentially pure, fresh water from salt water, Poetry brings out purity within you, by removing the pollution from your body, mind and the spirit. Poetry helps one to reminisce, retrace, re-vest, refresh and renew oneself.
In conclusion, poetry is an instrument of love and understanding, peace and harmony, hope and faith and all that is good and perfect. There are 39 uplifting poems (35 in this section, 4 in other parts). They should inspire you to start writing poetry to heal the soul of the world, and create a world without wars.
Let us begin with a sensitive Urdu poem of Sahir Ludhiyanwi (pen name) or Abdul Hayee (1921-1980), who was a popular Urdu poet and Hindi lyricist and songwriter. He won the Filmfare Award twice, in 1964 and 1977, and the Padma Shri, in 1971. He is remembered as a poet (along with Kaifi Azmi), who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures. His poetry was full of depth, intensity and purity. Amrita Pritam, a popular novelist, was his lover when they were studying together in Ludhiana.
Aye sharif insanon,
Khoon apna ho ya paraya ho, nasle – Aadam ka khoon hai aakhir.
Jung magrib mein ho ki mashrik mein, Aman-E-Aalam ka khoon hai aakhir.
Bam Gharon per giren ki sarhadpar, rooh-e-taamir zakhm khati hai.
Khet apne jalen ya auron ke, jist phagun mein tilmilati hai.
Tank aage badhen ki peeche haten, kokh dharti ki baanjh hoti hai.
Fateh ka jashn ho ke haar ka sog, zindagi mayyoton pe roti hai.
Isliye aye shariff insanon, jang talti rahe to behtar hai.
Aap aur hum sabhi ke aangan mein shama jalti rahe to behtar hai.
English translation by Dr. Leo Rebello:
Whether it is your blood, or someone else’s – after all it is the blood of humanity.
Whether the war is fought in the East or West – it is peace messenger’s blood after all.
Whether the bombs fall on homes or on the borders – our Soul is scarred.
Whether the fields burnt are ours or theirs – the loss is everyone’s.
Whether tanks roll forward or backward – the earth is ravaged.
Whether it is the victory cry or cry of defeat, life cries over the dead.
Therefore, oh Gentlemen,
It is good if war can be avoided,
And if we keep candles burning in our gardens.
Reproduced from World without Wars by Dr. Leo Rebello