The first time I have interest in Poetry was when I visit Dublin, Ireland in 2011. There, in a small bookstore near Trinity College, I saw a whole shelf full of Poetry books and I thought, I never see something like this in Indonesia. Poetry has been stamped as an ‘art’ that could never be sell. Thus, no publisher interested to publish it.
After spending my time pondering on the poetry room of National Library of Ireland, standing in the Long Room of Trinity College library, I decided to start writing my first poem. I read it at a dinner with my colleagues, in front of an Irish writer, Claire Kilroy. That’s really how I broke all the ice inside of me. I’m not afraid to sound stupid, even when I do it for the first time. I have the confidence to just do it. Of course, Claire and everyone else were laughing, at least the poem was a refreshing entertainment LOL
Then back to Indonesia, I announce to everyone that I’m going to write a poetry book in a month. Then finally be able to finished it in 2 months. It’s my first ever attempt to make a poetry book, the title is ‘Thinking of You‘, cover beautifully designed by Rayi @mumolabs
Then I keep writing poetry regularly on my tumblr, and now my heart grew fond and fonder to poetry. Because I just realized the power behind it. I always write poetry with notebook, basically paper and pen. Because I think it connects to my heart directly, allowing any emotion flows easily.
For me, poetry is more than flowery words you wrote to sound romantic. No. It’s more than that. Poetry helps you articulate your problems. It expressed whatever on your heart that you thought you never had. Through poetry you can suddenly found what’s been bothering you all these time. With poetry, you can find solution, because finally, you know what’s wrong, what’s the problem.
This is what I wrote as an answer after people come to me crying telling me their problems:
Your lips trembling
Papers are wet from tears
Why, they stop me from writing? You asked me
Because, my dear
Words carry ideas
Words carry dreams
Words carry love
And love cures
That’s why… They hate it so much
Poetry makes a deeper connection with your reader, that means deeper love, that means deeper trust. As a leader, you need to constantly generate love and trust, from you and towards you. I know the Prime Minister of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum love poetry. He wrote a book called ‘Poems from the desert’ with Foreword by Paulo Coelho. This is one of his poem…
Why am I Infatuated?
Who are you to torment me so? Yet I forgive
Who are you to dispute me? Yet I relent
You are an unruly being
Merely one among a million
Then why am I infatuated, why do I love you so?
Who gave you the right to manipulate my fate?
For your sake, why would I alter my life?
How would I obey you, when you are my captive?
Amidst illusions and doubts, you left me to float
Why am I infatuated, why do I love you so?
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was also a poet.
On September 28, 1858, Lincoln wrote the following verses “in the autograph album of Rosa Haggard, daughter of the proprietor of the hotel at Winchester, Illinois, where he stayed when speaking at that place on the same date”:
You are young, and I am older;
You are hopeful, I am not—
Enjoy life, ere it grow colder—
Pluck the roses ere they rot.
Teach your beau to heed the lay—
That sunshine soon is lost in shade—
That now’s as good as any day—
To take thee, Rose, ere she fade.
I never thought I could enjoy poetry in different way. By reading it out loud. I join #MalamPuisi and read my poems and it feels good. My friend Minh, a Vietnamese American told me about Poetry slam. I never been to, but should be exciting. My experience with spoken poetry in Makassar Writers Festival 2013 also stay in my mind. In Bahrain on farewell party I wrote poem for Bahrain and read it in front of hundreds of guests, and they love it very much, it goes on Bahrain’s National television afterward 😀
I want to quote a dialogue from Dead Poets Society movie about poetry:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
― N.H. Kleinbaum
So, what will your verse be?