World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21st March every year to promote writing, reading, teaching, and publishing poetry across the world. The day is dedicated to giving recognition to the poets at international, national, and regional levels. It was incepted back in 1999 in a session of UNESCO held in Paris.
It was this occasion that made the world realize that poetry is much more than an art as it has the power to influence the entire generation. It’s a social need that allows us to recognize our ancestral values and hence poetry should be given its due credit and respect.
Celebrating the spirit of poetry on World Poetry Day, here we have enlisted 5 great Indian poets of all times whose poems will touch you with all the right chords:
1) Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Rabindranath Tagore was the first Indian poet to be recognized in the world literature. He even won the Nobel Prize in 1913 and also regarded as one of the greatest Indian poets. His poems are often compared to the works of William Wordsworth and William Blake for the romantic element in them.
Where the Mind is without Fear
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
2) Sarojini Naidu (1829-1949)
She was one of the most famous female poets of all times and her work often reflected the condition of Indian society and the plight of women at that time. Sarojini Naidu was known as the ‘Nightingale of India’.
The Pardah Nashin
HER life is a revolving dream
Of languid and sequestered ease;
Her girdles and her fillets gleam
Like changing fires on sunset seas;
Her raiment is like morning mist,
Shot opal, gold and amethyst.
From thieving light of eyes impure,
From coveting sun or wind’s caress,
Her days are guarded and secure
Behind her carven lattices,
Like jewels in a turbaned crest,
Like secrets in a lover’s breast.
But though no hand unsanctioned dares
Unveil the mysteries of her grace,
Time lifts the curtain unawares,
And Sorrow looks into her face . . .
Who shall prevent the subtle years,
Or shield a woman’s eyes from tears?
3) Sri Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950)
He was known to be the master of all poetic genres and could easily blend both western and eastern poetic sensibilities. He had an exceptional narrative and lyrical skills.
With wind and the weather beating round me
Up to the hill and the moorland I go.
Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?
Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow?
Not in the petty circle of cities
Cramped by your doors and your walls I dwell;
Over me God is blue in the welkin,
Against me the wind and the storm rebel.
I sport with solitude here in my regions,
Of misadventure have made me a friend.
Who would live largely? Who would live freely?
Here to the wind-swept uplands ascend.
I am the Lord of tempest and mountain,
I am the Spirit of freedom and pride.
Stark must he be and a kinsman to danger
Who shares my kingdom and walks at my side.
4) Jayanta Mahapatra
Jayanta Mahapatra is one of the best English poets in India who is known for exploring intricate human relationships. His ironic observations are loved by all kinds of writers.
Of that Love
Of that love, of that mile
walked together in the rain,
only a weariness remains.
I am that stranger now
my mirror holds to me;
the moment’s silence
hardly moves across the glass.
I pity myself in another’s guise.
And no one’s back here, no one
I can recognize, and from my side
I see nothing. Years have passed
Since I sat with you, watching
The sky grows lonelier with cloudlessness,
Waiting for your body to make it lived in.
5) Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
Born in 1947 in Pakistan, AK Mehrotra is a world-renowned Indian poet who cleverly depicts the true face of modern society with surrealism. His work is known to have a conversational tone, geographical description, and transparent imagery.
Canticle For My Son
The dog barks and the cat mews,
The moon comes out in the sky,
The birds are mostly settled.
I envy your twelve hours
Of uninterrupted dreaming.
I take your small palms in mine
And don’t know what
To do with them. Beware, my son,
Of those old clear-headed women
Who never miss a funeral.