Title : Listening to Poetry
Publisher : Charkha Audiobooks (an imprint of Karadi Tales Company Pvt. Ltd.)
"What is poetry? How does one define poetry? Is it a bunch of words put together that rhyme? Is it a feeling expressed? Is it a short piece of imaginative writing laid out in lines, sometimes to rhyme, sometimes not? "
The book begins with this set of questions and you start wondering how is poetry actually defined and while you are trying to figure that out, there are some definitions that have been given by some great poets like Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge and you start nodding along the description of a poem - how true. Wordsworth puts it as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings".
What I personally like about poetry is its flows like a river where the words are so convincingly used to describe the essence sometimes subtly sometimes not and we keep wondering how could the words bring such range of emotions and feelings.
'Listening to Poetry' is a set of two books bringing out a wonderful potpourri of timeless poems by some greatest poets of all times. We have the first book and the first poem is 'Palanquin Bearers by Sarojini Naidu, a very short poem but so very gracefully brings out the delicate nature and handling of a palanquin and emotions of a bride inside it. Do not want to miss the opportunity to write a few lines from this poem here:
"she sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream;
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream"
Some light verses like "The Duck and the Kanagaroo" bring the lively interludes to the otherwise very thought stirring poems. The Duck is bored of its little pond and wants to see the world hopping with Kangaroo on its back. What all conditions are set forth by the Kangaroo and how the Duck manages to satisfy all these conditions, is hilarious.
How can we have a book on poetry and not have any mention of Rabindranath Tagore or William Shakespeare.
Rabindranath Tagore's - "Open Thine Eyes and See Thy God" the famous poem which manages to stir the inner emotions every time I read it. I marvel at the ease and the flow with which he puts the words together to awaken and feel the presence of God in the common man who is toiling hard in sun or in rain.
"He is with them in sun and in shower
And His garment is covered with dust
Meet him and stand by him in toil and in sweat of thy brow."
William Shakespeare's "All the World's a Stage" reiterates and reinforces the fact that we are mere actors on the stage and the supreme entity directs all the scenes and decides the entry and exit of each actor on this stage.
My personal favourite is "Teach me to Listen, Lord" by Anonymous. Simply an incredible piece of verse. Just a little sample from this poem-
"Teach me to listen, Lord
To those far from me
The whisper of the hopeless
The plea of the forgotten
The cry of the anguished.
Help me to be less afraid
To trust the voice inside
In the deepest part of me."
There are 14 poems in each book and the likes of P.B.Shelley, W.B.Yeats, Robert Frost and Edward Lear are gracing the books by their presence through the verses here.
The books have companion CDs and the poems are recited by stage actors - Naseeruddin Shah, Gareth Armstrong, Shernaz Patel and Dhritiman Chaterji. It is an attempt to "resurrect the power of spoken poetry bringing back to life sheer pleasure of listening to verse" and what a pleasure it is!! Listening to poetry is a unique experience and must not be missed when the poems are such gems and the performers are of international fame and repute.
A brilliant masterpiece to own and to cherish for all times.