So the writing prompt for June 2nd, 2010 by NaBloPoMo says:
(Don’t know what I am talking about: read this)
What's your favorite poem? (And if you don't have one, why?)
Did I ever mention that English was my least favorite subject in school, owing to the English teachers I had? Now top it, with my impatience with the rhymes. Yep, I don’t have any favorite English poet.
However, being bilingual has it’s advantage. I do have a favorite poet in Hindi (oh well, it’s almost Hindi): Kabir. My fascination with Kabir and his dohe (two-line verses) started at a very early age (about 3), thanks to the age gap between my brother and I. When I was learning to write, he was learning dohe of Kabir, Rahim and others. My mom used to explain the meaning of those dohe, which increased my fascination ten folds. As a result by the age 6 or 7 I had memorized almost all of dohe of Kabir.
The reason I got more fascinated by Kabir than rest of them, was due to his sarcastic spirit, his contempt towards the superstitions and above all, his complete disregard for the norms of the society. Some examples:
जाती ना पूछो साधू की, पूछ लीजये ज्ञान
मोल करो तलवार का, पड़ा रहन दो म्यान
[Don’t ask the caste (or bloodline) of a wise person, instead ask for his wisdom
Just like one appreciate the sword while ignoring the sheath]
बड़ा हुआ तो क्या हुआ, जैसे पेड़ खजूर ।
पंथी को छाया नहीं, फल लागे अतिदूर ।।
[In vain is the eminence, just like a date tree
No shade for travelers, fruit is hard to reach]
पाहन पूछे हरि मिले तो मैं पूजूँ पहार ।
ताते यह चाकी भली पीस खाय संसार।।
[If worshipping a stone can get you God, then I will worship a mountain
The grind stone is better than that, it grinds and feeds the world]
बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलया कोई ।
जो मन खोजे आपना, मुझसे बुरा न कोई ।।
[When I started to search for flaws in the world, I couldn’t find any
Because when I searched myself, I was the most flawed one]
And, of course, the famous:
काल करे सो आज कर, आज करे सो अब ।
पल में प्रलय होएगी, बहुरि करोगे कब ।।
[What needs to be done tomorrow, do it today, What needs to be done today do it NOW Circumstances changes in seconds, you might not be able to do it later]
Don’t ask me to pick one among his work. I simply love all these verses. The most amazing part is how the wisdoms stored in these verses still hold true even after hundreds of years (500 years to be precise). Makes me admire him even more.
I know, I have twisted the topic from favorite poem to favorite poet but don’t they have something called creative liberty?