By Niki Aggelopoulou,
Poetry has been around since the invention of writing and even today it remains an essential part of our culture through music, film and verse. As a form of literature, it has been used to express and communicate emotions and ideas. The variety of themes, symbols and metaphors allow us to experience vicariously many more lifetimes than we could ever imagine and make us feel less lonely in this fast-paced world. Throughout the centuries, poets from all over the world have been using their verses to capture the human experience and help us understand what it means to dare, to love, to lose, to hope.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-/I took the one less travelled by,/And that has made all the difference” (The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost)
An instant moment, the moment of fear. A common theme in literature, and a far more common theme in life, is the need for courage. Especially through difficult times, whether it is be a break-up with a loved one or the spread of a pandemic, we may feel that life demands from us more than we can give. Believing in yourself and taking chances is not always easy, but it is necessary, and it can make “all the difference”.
“But we loved with a love that was more than love” (Anabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe)
An instant moment, the moment of first love. Many would argue that the majority of poetry is dedicated to love, and they would be probably right. That is because love is both a universal feeling and a deeply personal one. Through the verses, we are able to experience the joy of being in love or the everlasting nostalgia of falling out of love. Through the verses, we are able to experience the intensity, the tenderness, the longing.
“There is a place in the heart that/ will never be filled/ and/ we will wait/ and/ wait/ in that/ space” (No help for that by Charles Bukowski)
An instant moment, the moment of grief. Unfortunately, life does not consist exclusively of delightful moments, but it is rather more like a rollercoaster ride. Life has its ups and downs and sometimes the downs make us feel alone and isolated. Truth is that sometimes all you can do is wait for things to get better, but, while waiting, a few words can alleviate the pain. Poetry teaches us that loss is an essential part of life and that the expression of grief can be creative.
“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” (Ulysses by Lord Alfred Tennyson)
An eternal moment, the moment of hope. There is a reason why this line is one of the most quoted in English literature: after all is said and done, people need hope to continue on. At the end of the day, this is the fundamental purpose of poetry and art. We dare to feel and we dare to create and express. We dare to believe that in love and in loss and in dreams and in grief, hope will carry us through until the end.