I certainly cannot be the only one who has noticed how simple the word ‘simple’ sounds, unlike the word ‘complicated’ which simply sounds…complicated.
(I’ll admit I have often wondered, perhaps time and familiarity subtly reshapes our perception, making us associate the ‘look’ of words on paper to their meanings in our minds, luring us into thinking they sound and look like what the dictionary says they mean, but that is a matter for another time).
I love ‘simple things’ for their ability to be nonchalantly potent. A simple ‘hello’ can secure a lifelong friend, a simple apology can redeem a would-be enemy, a mere remark can cost a man his life and casual but careless words can cause two nations to war.
An understanding of the power of ‘simplicity’, tacitly taught me the efficacy of simple words and how they are the vehicles of useful communication. I learnt that often, ‘less says more’, I also realised how very silly it is to say simple things complicatedly.
How we often crave so direly
The depths of hefty words
To convey outwardly
Emotioning inner thoughts.
How we yearn the beauty
Of gargantuan rhetoric
To flush out entrapped feelings
To ears that need to hear it.
But I know better than try hard
To say simple things complicatedly
Like when “I’m really sorry”
Or telling you “I love you”.
Few years ago, I really began to find poetry fascinating, but I also realised that a lot of people do not share my enthusiasm about poetry. It was more startling, discovering that many of such people are already avid readers, yet for them, poetry is strictly off the menu.
There appeared to be a very simple reason for this; a ‘hatred’ of poetry because they find it ostentatious and poets egoistic. They also consider poetry typically boring and obscure, especially when they struggle to understand or enjoy what is conventionally touted as brilliant poetry.
Before I learnt ‘the simple lesson’, I stupidly believed the quality of poetry could be proportional to the time it takes readers to grasp its message. I judged its beauty by how well-entrenched the meanings were, but I have found that the duty and skillfulness of a poet is not in how well he hides beautiful meanings between the lines, it’s in how easily he reveals them. A poem does not have to be difficult to be deep; ‘simple’ and ‘deep’ are not mutually exclusive.
Like every form of art, poetry is a means of communication and as such, its consumption does not have to be a puzzle-solving exercise. It should be like a walk in a beautiful garden, alive with exotic flowers and animals; a garden of words in which each turn presents delights that tickle the eyes.
I learnt that poetry is a language or a message, and the poet is a mere courier. Poetry is a means of communication and its glory is its successful delivery. The fanciful words and pedantry a message is encased in is worthless, if the message is undelivered, and if the message is undelivered, the messenger (poet) has failed, and if the messenger fails, the message is in vain.
This understanding made me start calling my poetry ‘poetry for people who hate poetry’, which can be described as poetry marinated in; detail, simplicity, relatability, vividness and wittiness. So far the feedback has been encouraging. Many readers speak of how they now see poetry in a new light.
Without any intention to ridicule or undermine complex forms of poetry, the poems in this book are written without the strictures of conformity and with a form and motive to portray poetry as enjoyable, especially to those people who would normally consider poetry intimidating or boring.
I Laugh at These Tiny Girls is the second book in the ‘poetry for people who hate poetry’ series and I really hope you enjoy reading these poems as much as I did writing them.
Abbey Wood, London