The Power of Poetry.
For those that know me, it is no secret that poetry is far more than just a genre of writing for me: it’s a powerful wellbeing tool I turn to often. It also helps me to connect and hold onto a legacy, created by my grandad and carried forward by my mother and maternal uncles. Though I never got to meet my grandad ( Nana ji), we’re connected through words and his talent that has been passed down, through the bloodline. I owe it to him to develop the skill and owe it to myself and my wellbeing to explore this passion further as I have been doing through my writing page, @skpadda_writing.
My journey with poetry began long before I was even born. Probably as one of my mother’s cells who had the great fortune of being surrounded by the forefather of poetry in my family, my grandad, Bishambar Singh Saqi. Through her, I learn that we always had poets coming to our home and unconsciously, my love for poetry began to evolve, even before I existed. This love developed further when I started to learn Kirtan ( Sikh devotional singing). My music teacher would always begin our lessons by exploring the meaning of Shabads ( hymns). I was amazed by the beauty of poetry in the Sikh holy scriptures and am yet to find poetry as deep, beautiful and meaningful.
I would now be a third-generation poet on the maternal side of my family. Words like ‘Kavita(poem)’, ‘Kavi(poet)’ and ‘Kavi Darbar (poetry event)’ are heard on the daily at home. Little did I know that as a quiet, young observer of poetry readings at home, I was actually soaking in vast amounts of Panjabi vocabulary and an understanding of how to put words together to express feelings. These would all come in handy, when a quiet, shy child/ teenager, who didn’t always feel comfortable to communicate openly, would be able to turn to writing tools to express emotion.
My first memory of realising ‘the power of poetry’ as a wellbeing tool is as a new adult, who had just moved to Madrid for a year. I missed home and began to seek comfort in journaling my feelings and then adding rhythm and rhyme to the initial ‘mind dump’ to form poetry and express feelings of loneliness at the time. It took me a while to adjust to my new surroundings and it is here that I also came across the word Saudade, a Portuguese word referring to melancholy, longing or nostalgia and for my initial months in Spain, Saudade became a recurrent theme in my poems. Whilst finding my feet in a foreign land, poetry became a safe haven for me to retreat to.
Sharing poetry can feel quite ‘naked’, after all you are sharing your vulnerabilities and baring your soul to the world. It is for this reason that it took me a whole ten years to share anything publicly. After battling with Imposter Syndrome for a long time, I finally felt ready to share my poems. The only way I could express my anger, frustration and helplessness towards what was happening with the Farmers in India was through poetry. I was hurting for my people out there and I also felt overwhelmed by the information overload in the media. It is then that I started to truly realise the power of writing to return to a calm state. Whether you decide to share your writing publicly or not, writing is a powerful tool to equilibrate your emotions, develop self-awareness and to manage your mental health.
My journaled thoughts often acts as my ‘plan’ before a poem evolves. I find it tricky to sit down to specifically write poetry without having something tug at my heart’s strings. This is usually an overwhelm of emotion, be it happiness, anxiety, love or heartbreak. I have gained strength from others who share their vulnerabilities through writing and have therefore chosen to share my poems now. I also feel encouraged when others express how my poetry resonates with them. By nurturing my hobby, I experience a ‘creative high’ whilst also cultivating inner peace.
I am hugely thankful to friends, family and followers on social media who are continuously encouraging this passion of mine. I had never in my wildest dreams imagined how the first poem I would ever publicly share would reach over 20 000 people on Instagram alone! Not that a number of likes or watches matters but I knew I had shared something meaningful with ‘The Matha I tek to my Roti’ and was raising awareness on an issue which mattered. It was an act of ‘sewa’ to give back to the community whilst also nurturing a hobby.
I’d like to end by reminding everyone to not underestimate the goodness writing does for the soul. Nobody needs to be a professional writer to make use of this wellbeing tool. Whether you decide to share your writing publicly, that is entirely up to you but I would encourage everyone to seek comfort in this powerful activity- let your pen lead the way and let your thoughts follow!
Here are some tips on how to write a poem to release emotions:
Make journaling a daily habit. This will help you recognise if there is an emotion you could release through poetry.
Brainstorm ideas and vocabulary in relation to the topic you have chosen.
Decide whether you want a rhyme scheme or not. Usually shorter words at the end of every line work best for this.
Start writing your poem and enhance your poem with literary devices like alliteration, similes, metaphors, personification and hyperbole to name a few!
Read over your poem and consider whether you want to change anything.
Read your poem out aloud and open up that throat chakra!
Lastly and most importantly, be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for expressing your vulnerabilities on paper.
I end by sharing a short poem reminding us of all of the Power of Poetry. I hope it will encourage others to pick up a pen to journal their thoughts or write poetry.
Pen to paper,
Thoughts to words,
Words to feelings
Is what started to flow
And form that inner glow.
Shayari ( poetry) is the diet I’ve been fed
Like therapy to clear my head.
Hope this genre forever holds my hand
Transporting me to escapist lands.
Sharan Padda @skpadda_writing