When it’s about tears,
I’ve least to allow
out of my terrible eyes
which have burnt enough
of the precious God’s oil.
True; I seldom have the chance to weep. (Though I almost, almost and almost – and finally broke into few drops of tears while watching the movie Dead Poets Society. Everything about the movie – acting of the teenagers, the performance of Robin Williams, the captain of those ‘boys’ who seized the day and made their life extraordinary, the plot of the movie and the bitter reality of the position of arts in our society, everything about the movie is great and captivating. Indeed, there is ‘realism’ in the movie; there is ‘escapism’ in the movie; there is a lesson in the movie that we learn from the resurrected Dead Poets Society.
From where should I begin? Is the society of poetry dead? Are there no kids like Neil, Todd & Knox who could once again start the club of poets? When I ask the question of ‘poetry in the present scenario’ to great poets of the present time, they all seem to console me and themselves too with the usual consolation ‘it is there… poetry did not go anywhere’.
The bitter reality is, if you be a realist poet, poetry has put itself for sale! On the one hand, people have been constantly losing their interest and looking for quick entertainment in different ‘shades of grey’ and what the ‘poets’ have been doing, instead of bringing poetry closer to the society, is thoroughly opposite to the need. The modern poets have commercialized poetry too much; (the helplessness of them I can understand). The ‘market of literature’ is not like the older days’ ‘canvas of literature’; it has changed with the time; it has seen different phases; it has pushed the ‘romanticism’ out of context and brought in the ‘eroticism,’ ‘mercantilism,’ and many other unnecessary jargons.
Yes, there are the poets who work under the ‘layer of fame’ and spend their lives in writing the ‘poetry in true colours’ much to remain unnoticed like G M Hopkins. However, who is their messiah like Robert Bridges in this modern age of ‘burdened education’ and forced ‘professionalism’ where the children do not have a proper freedom to exercise, to choose their own field of education…
John Keating was there to teach the children the art of free thinking. We have today the IITs and IIMs which will do but teach you the art of mechanical life, and that is why some students even commit the same root of escapism like Neil did in the Dead Poets Society. But the sad truth that you can see today is poetry cannot feed someone. We do need to practice a profession to earn our living. But, can we dedicate a corner of life to poetry? Can we, at least, respect others who dedicated even their hours of shaving to poetry? Can we teach our children the best lessons from the Golden Treasury? Can we, if I am not being extravagant and this chapter is not being prolix, recreate the Dead Poets Society?