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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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What is your poetry?

Poetry communicates what nothing other than poetry can. We all have those unspoken stories, the resounding silence and the brilliance of darkness that defy the structures of prose. Some of us can have poetry to speak for us, like Suheir does. Some of us do not have it and read it to know that someone else has spoken for us.

Leonard Cohen said, 'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.'

How well is your life burning? How much ash did it gather? What is your poetry?

Dedicated to my TED friend Jim Moonan.


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  • Jun 2 2013: Pabitra - Thank you for this conversation! My poetry is my amazing 10 year old daughter, Sarina who has a passion for writing poems. She wrote the following poem:

    Poetry can be brilliantly brash and bold,
    It too can also be evanescent
    Reminiscent of the kindred soul
    Which never perishes or deteriorates within
    Left unstrung after the battles are fought
    Splattered with blood and wounded,
    But never fatally injured.
    Deserted harshly; left to investigate the complicated mysteries of the universe.
    All the thrilling sensations can be condensed into the most cramped of childish curlicue.
    Those are the finer pieces of writing because of their eagerness to explore, and the jovial youth,
    That nobody can seem to find etched into the weary lines of adult faces.
    Poetry- so expansive and generously caring,
    Infused with juvenile frustration and zesty attitudes,
    Can create the perfect type of literature...
    The one that can lighten you when you're suffering,
    The type of writing that can amuse and delight you on the loveliest of days.
    Poetry is the human spirit, the flighty and brave essence of what we have evolved into,
    As kindhearted people with big eyes and open hands,
    That may even see the world with sightless eyes yet still acknowledge your presence warmly.
    That may even hold out their hands for you to take them and step into your new future.
    Poetry is what we have become as human beings,
    What has come and what will come.
    A mysterious, sweet, clear, and peaceful sound that you can hear if you listen quite intently.
    This is the fascinating world of poetry that speaks directly to me.
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      Jun 2 2013: Hi Bhavna!
      Send my love to Sarina. As a father of an artistically gifted son, I appreciate and understand your joy and other feelings towards your little daughter :)
      I am impressed with the enthusiasm and passion that is reflected in her poem. It is a bit long and heavy for a kid, but it is also very normal. I hope you will let her flourish in her poetic expression - just make available to her the wonderful works of so many poets from all across the world.
      Please ask her to read this now and 20 years later.

      Our little Sarina
      Is a cozy marina
      Waiting by the poetry’s shore

      She will grow
      In unspoken flow
      Where words will mean no more
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      Jun 14 2013: ws73ief,fjbwiu20384jkYJde;o932WQLE/PFH! hmm... poetry is no respecter of age...Sarina flourish...the world awaits to hear your ish...
      • Jun 14 2013: Thank you for your kind words. Here is another lovely poem Sarina wrote for her favorite teacher.

        Fire Of Knowledge

        Fine language spawned,
        In a brilliant, golden heart like yours,
        Is enough a flame kindled by
        Passionate knowledge.
        It's strong enough to be alit,
        Once more by the next strong pupil,
        Such as myself.
        With such an inspirational spark
        And a fire shining bright
        Wisdom flourishing is unstoppable
        As the next eager person carries the fire.
        A mentored pupil so fiercely willing,
        To be well educated, to fight for literature; tooth and nail.
        Therefore triumphs true, proving the taught ambition,
        Of such an immaculate, excellent teacher.
        For that reason, my thoughts are layered with gratitude,
        As I would repay you over for the many blessings bestowed.
        The countless hours battling and absorbing,
        Wondering and questioning,
        Brainstorming and negotiating,
        Were clearly not put to utter waste.
        Thank you, my awesome teacher, for all that you've done.

        Sarina Patel, age 10.

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