Friday, April 5, 2019

093. Why Are Highly Intelligent People So Rare To Find? P S Remesh Chandran


Why Are Highly Intelligent People So Rare To Find?

P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

01. Article Title 1 Image By Geralt. Graphics: Adobe SP.

First published: 22 July 2013


Highly intelligent people are only so difficult to find, they are not rare. The world has them in plenty. They are so difficult to find because they are skilled in masking and clouding their intelligence, for fear of unnecessary exposure of their talents and interference from others in their dedicated engagements. But their combined intelligence is what always saves the world from harms. Sometimes it would be wise and safe to hide one's intelligence from the world. We all know about that most brilliant mind Cavendish who hid more things he discovered than he revealed to the world, for fear of misuse by the unphilosophic people of the world. Almost all intelligent people are dual personalities. The inner soft man would be kind and sophisticated, doing many versatile things, without having enough time to defend himself. The outer rough warrior personality assumes the responsibility of protecting the inner one from the hatred and jealousy of others so that he can continue his intelligent works uninterruptedly. The outer shell is born out of natural instincts, a gift from Nature, which makes the inner intelligence obscure and so difficult to find. The outer protective personality knows that it would be the destruction of the inner, if he makes himself the cynosure of all eyes. 


I will try to explain. It is what differentiates George Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell from Jane Austen. It is simply, higher intelligence. Living in England, she did not seem to know or care a French Revolution was going on across the Channel and its waves were reaching the shores of England and changing the life of Englishmen in many ways. But Baroness Orzy cared and wrote Scarlet Pimpernel, celebrating the silent service English noble men did in saving many precious lives from the Guillotine. 


No one has seen an eagle’s nest, that is what experienced forest-dwellers say. We needn’t take the meaning of this phrase literally but they are indeed of a lot who like to lead a solitary life. Yes, like Dr. ...... termed it, genius are such rare birds, in character, though not as a rule but generally. Our lofty bird eagle builds its nest only in the tallest tree in the most isolated spot; if available, at a spot close to the most inaccessible cliff. It is also known for its chastity, loyalty and devotion; it will never accept a second one, once its mate is dead or lost. A noble lord it is. And when it is nearing the end of its life, it will go to some lonely place and die majestically, like a magnificent landlord who will never recline in a bed in public view for fear of loosing dignity. Dear Dr. ..., real geniuses indeed are rare birds. Their loneliness and seclusion are not destiny-made but self-made. When one ascends to mountain tops and cliffs, he can see that the nearest-next is miles and miles away. That is why mountain tops, cliffs and geniuses are lonely. But when we say one is a genius, it does not necessarily mean he is a great man, in the human sense. Distance is what imparts greatness. In most cases, the nearer we go to a supposedly great man, his greatness diminishes. At close quarters, he would appear to be far worse than others, in many things. Thus, we have highly intelligent people with worse characters and great people with no mentionable intelligence, in our society. A super-charged conscience with humane greatness is a delightful rare spectacle. 


Thinking is a necessary evil, an unavoidable kind of biological destruction like the process of ageing. Even if mankind had not thought much, it would have survived through natural animal instincts. But thinking was what brought comfort, culture and civilization to human world. There was a time when a less primitive civilization only meant that the people of that time did not sell members of their families quite so frequently for immediate necessities such as food and wares. Thinking was what curtailed this and one day it will surely curtail wars too. Intelligence was a product of generations of human thinking. It is in all ours blood; in some it is unclouded, in some it remains clouded. Suppose we think about facing life, about facing the hardships of life, weathering the weather, sailing the stormy seas. Our knowledge tells us that unless we know more about life, we cannot face it. It is then that our intelligence, if we possess it, tells us that we cannot face life, we cannot differentiate life from us; we are life. For those with intelligence, understanding life becomes easier from then onwards. Some people will know only about the present and always remain anxious about future. Intelligence tells that our present is our future; if we are not eating now, we will not be washing our hands a while after. It tells us that future is only the present a little further away. It is in daily dealings of human beings that we have to look for higher intelligence, not in the life of figure heads. Intelligence cannot be seen or gauged. Its presence can only be felt through its manifestations in daily life. Plato devoted whole chapters in his Republic to elaborate on what is goodness and what is intelligence. He came to the conclusion that it cannot be defined or gauged but can only be felt through manifestations. It was Socrates speaking through him. The Universe, through Nature, has beautifully blended in man all faculties necessary to navigate all imaginable hardships in this Earth and in Space. 


Like you would know, like Socrates put it, the best way to know about something is to make a question and arrive at the truth, discerning it from the answers and opinions others give to the question. One day we will arrive at the truth. The more these intelligent persons who contribute here are willing to open up, the earlier. 


I wish to add this, after reading dear Ms.......'s observations on whether right socio-economic class with lots of familial support is needed for the success of intelligence. I cannot disagree with her words of learning but can certainly add a few facts from history. Sankara Acharya, the greatest philosopher of the Sixth Century AD and the ascetic who presented to the world the unequalled Advaita Vedanta, was born in a poor ordinary family in the southernmost state of India, Kerala. He had no particular intelligence in his family or any kind of richness except in knowledge. His monistic system of thought, Advaita or Non- Dualism, considered in the West as one of the most comprehensively developed philosophies of the modern-day world, stresses on renunciation. In his words, renunciation of all attachments and familial partialities alone would cleanse a person and help him make his Self one with the Whole. Confucius, one of the world’s greatest intellects and philosophers, was born in a very poor family in Ancient China in a family known to have no mentionable noble lineage. There has been no other person in that part of the world who more influenced, taught and moulded the mind, character, behaviour and personage of the world than him. We all know, Socrates who thrilled the world and became a master to the world’s greatest philosophers and geniuses of all times, including the present times, was a very poor and humble stone cutter, and unlike his student Plato, had no noble connections at all. The only person we know in history who had a clear princely lineage and good family promotions and support to build an intelligent career was Gautama Buddha, but we also know that he renounced everything princely and royal before becoming intelligent enough to be a philosopher. He wandered through the north Indian kingdoms begging, where not one person knew who he was in his former life. He got the ‘light’, when he renounced connections and support, while he was at Gaya, Bihar state. In England, perhaps the person most known for his brilliance and intelligence was Dr. Samuel Johnson who lived in poverty. When he ran a tutorial in London city, he got, in his words, below half a dozen students only to tutor and make a living out of. All other tutorials in his neighbourhood with lesser brilliance and lesser intelligence, were brimming with students, because those principals had noble connections and were born in well-to-do families. Parents in London would send their children to only such well-connected principals. But Johnson’s scanty students walked directly to history. Can we still say that ‘highly intelligent people, if not born in the right socioeconomic class with lots of familial support, do not succeed’? A few people of the present times who wrote fast-selling books and are propped up by publishers as very intelligent and materially productive and successful personages have not yet been tested by time, to see if they will survive at least half a century. Rich and well connected people get more leisure and therefore can pursue their studies more torment-free than poor scholars. But history of intelligent philosophers warns us that wrong socio-economic surroundings and no family support are the conditions which create higher intelligence and really productive intellectual caliber. 


It is not so, dear Mr..... The discussion is actually going in the right direction. It is now like standing outside a conference room, listening to quick-wits debating on something they love, i.e., intelligence. Because it is a long way to truth, short deviations and short cuts won't matter. 


Dear Mr....., you asked, 'That doesn't actually mean anything, does it?', when I wrote about standing outside and listening to a good lecture. Yes, I did mean something. I know what your good mind implicates, but it is not so actually. I really enjoy this conversation. When I was in undergraduate class in a college with up to Post Graduate classes, I was saddened by the fact that I had only too little English to learn except Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Our college principal was, Rev. Father Dr. Geevargheese Panicker, an excellent English teacher. My father who was also a British Council-trained English teacher, had high esteem for this Father. In fact, he also was taught by the same Father once. The Rev. Father did not come anywhere near low classes like ours and I very much longed to sit in one of his classes for which he was renowned. But he would only teach P. G. English students. I sometimes cut my class, went to the P. G. Building, stood in the corridor outside and listened secretly to his fine lecture. I still remember and enjoy the sweetness and thrill of his oration before a selected assemblage of intelligent and brilliant Post Graduate Students, the 'liquidity of diction and fluidity of movement' of his flowing speech on English literature still thrilling me. But he caught me red handed one day and sent me away to my own class. I hoped that I too would one day enjoy what those higher-ups enjoyed. Our father, but, soon resigned, founded a Seminary on a river bank in a distant place, and became an ascetic. Remember, every good thing is for only once in a life time, even listening to good conversations. 


I agree, culture do play a part in moulding the character, outlook and behaviour of a person. As Madame ..... pointed out, in present day circumstances, one cannot simply flee from proper education or disappoint his or her parents by shattering their hopes for a materially visual intellectual excellence for their child. In other words, in short, one cannot denounce academic achievements and become an ascetic overnight at a very young age, like those seers, saints and prophets who did it in old times. Our dilemma here is, we are trying to find, recognize or accuse intelligence in the present day world, not in the old one. In the old world, exceptional intelligence was more visible because perhaps it was more illuminated against a background of comparative darkness. But today, finding exceptional intelligence is like finding a star in daylight. As I observed, I think, in the original posting, the intelligent ones are not at all rare but in plenty; it is only that it is hard to find them: we try to see light, against a background of light. 


Ms..... said it right. Tattoos have been remaining with human society for long, through millenniums. In the old times, it was essential to identify a clan from others. It was also used to mark professions. Sailors invariably had anchors tattooed on their arms. The most bizarre signs, in most unwanted places, have been tattooed. This customary practice of tattooing one’s body which waned for a time seems to be reappearing in many societies. In some countries it is becoming acceptable again or becoming the current vogue. We needn’t unnecessarily argue over if it is healthy, hygienic or beautiful. From what Ms. .... and Ms. ....say, so many people are antagonous and intolerant to tattooing and discriminations exist on this account. Perhaps, a few people like to see others bodies always unblemished, I don’t know. It is a great business and industry there, to keep human body unblemished. How can they tolerate tattooing? 


Ms..... wrote knowledge and intelligence are different. It is exactly so. Knowledge does not bring wisdom; knowledge does not supply wisdom but only supplements it. In the absence of wisdom, there can be no use to knowledge; knowledge can even be harmful on occasions. We can cite so many instances in the history of science to validate this argument. Intelligence stands far distant from knowledge but closer to wisdom. If it is an attire, offspring, ingredient or cause of wisdom, we can debate. Intelligence is a virtue, independent of knowledge. 


Ms..... asked the crowd to get her ice and questions were asked about where they could find ice, which illustrates both- absence of quick thinking and absence of intelligence. Thinking out where one could get ice in a large shopping mall and bringing it in no time is positive quick thinking and intelligence. Perhaps one who finds the place will still have problems in securing it from that place quickly, but then again his intelligence and positive quick thinking will help him jump the hurdles. She is right. 


Some people do not like intelligent people to be anywhere near them; they are the Romans of this world who loathe the Greeks of this world. Intelligence is a super-heated stone, shocking to be picked up with hands, but warming whatever is around it. Such men of intelligence, constantly shed light around them, illuminating the path of others. Intelligence is nothing but clear consciousness, which functions friction-free, without inhibitions of corpuscular stupor, in circumstances where shadows of fallibility and unwisdom fall on human life. When all are asleep but one is sitting awake, it has the function of all being awake. That is the use of an intelligent man for society; it never goes comatose. Due to his presence, the society is ever alert and watchful. That is how intelligent people save the world in times of peril. And it happens continuously around us day and night in our everyday lives. In every society, village and town, we can see several such men; we can even name them. We will wonder what we will do and how we will go on without them. Oliver Goldsmith's poem The Deserted Village and Thomas Gray's poem Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard were odes to them. 


I did not know this idea, intelligence is nothing but clear consciousness, was already discussed and elaborated on by others. I thought it was my patented thought. Alas, the best of more of my thoughts are stolen again by the ancients! I have not read the Heart Of Darkness but I will. Thank you dear Mr.... for the suggestion. I have read his supreme masterpiece The Secret Agent which tells the daring story of counter espionage, in my youth, but did not take a fancy to him. Joseph Conrad, through his character Charles Marlow in the Heart Of Darkness, may have dispelled the notion that intelligence is nothing but clear consciousness, but I still keep a ray of hope on others perhaps having contradicted him. I base my hope on two things: This London-born Polish aristocrat who self taught and commanded ships in the Oriental East and the African Congo, and told the tales of oceans and mysterious lands on ocean shores, spoke out of experience with human beings in far distant lands indeed, but was a perpetually gloomy character, according to his innumerable friends who admired him for his genius. This might perhaps have been one of his gloomiest observations. And, writing was an agonizing experience for him, unlike sailing seas and navigating unknown latitudes, again as observed by his friends. His consciousness might not have been clear when he wrote about intelligence. 


It is very good to see that, in civilized societies, especially by disciplined teachers, intelligent people are taught to be attributed as imaginative, modern and creative, which is not the situation in all societies and it has not been so in all decades, generations and ages. What Ms. Natasa Radulovic advised was, the right approach and healthy attitude other members of society should take towards people of uncommon intelligence. The intelligents in her country and society are lucky. But not that has been the case everywhere. In most societies, in most times, what people of higher consciousness constantly hear around them wherever they happen to walk are exactly those words which Mr. Michael Segal recorded: weird, intimidating, or some other apt and amusing negative words. It reminds us of our famous Professor Challenger whom Arthur Conan Doyle created, who is giving in the City Hall an introductory lecture on the unbelievable stagnation of biological evolution he found in The Lost World.

02. Article Title 2 Image By Geralt. Graphics: Adobe SP.

We save human lives in hundreds, to take them away in millions. That is what scientific research in atomic energy has finally led us into. Energy is much needed indeed and nuclear energy is an efficient though unhealthy answer. But wherever atomic power plants have been built, they are actually military installations. Their ultimate aim is not to supply continuous energy but make and keep in reserve as much plutonium as can be kept, as a security against other countries. It not only makes other countries fear them but also serves as a security which is better and fearsome than gold. Due to plutonium, gold is losing its standard as security. A country which has one tonne of plutonium now has more bargaining power than a country which has a thousand tonnes of gold. While serving mankind dutifully in hundreds of kinds of medical equipments and in vehicles travelling through unimaginable distances in space, nuclear technology has emerged as the greatest threat to the continued existence of mankind. The number of no-nuclear countries in the world is increasing each year. More technically advanced countries are turning non-nuclear each year. Countries which set up gigantic nuclear plants are, due to people’s opposition, learning how to decommission and dismantle them safely and economically. It is true, discovery and development of atomic fission and fusion technology was a mile stone in the history of science, a discovery which is only five or six decades old, but setting up atomic power plants everywhere possible, even before discovering methods to dispose of their waste or even to store the residual plutonium cocktail safe at least for a thousand years, was what was folly, born out of the greed and unwisdom of human beings. The real story of the inadequacies in storing nuclear waste is a horrible tale, untold. Wherever there is a nuclear plant- research, industrial or military- their records and data are classified, along with details of the ‘incidents’, not accidents, happening there. That is how governments keep the fallacy of nuclear energy a secret, though every intelligent and conscious man in the world knows now about it. Higher intelligence is, imagining what an unripe human society will make out of a discovery in future and being conscious about its future consequences to mankind, weighing gains and losses, and finally deciding to keep it a secret, keeping it back from circulation, as Cavendish did, as told in the beginning of this discussion. Scientific discoveries in microbiological research, biotechnology, metallurgy, all have their pros and cons, unweighed still by generations because they are still very young. Already we live in fear of loathsome effects of gene mutation, bio-engineered food and hormone induced breast milk. Look closely and impartially, and we can see unconsciousness, unwisdom and un-intelligence in what human society use every scientific discovery for. 


Before we attempt to define higher consciousness, let us simply try to imagine one of its effects. Suppose, all of a sudden, the continuously happening process of thinking inside(?) us stops. Every other sound happening around us would be magnified, including the cooing of birds in thickets and trees, the twittering of sparrows in bushes, the chirping of crickets in the underbrush and the croaking of frogs in water spots. It is because our inner voice is nullified and still then. Now, what will it be like if it happens in the reverse, when all external voices are stilled? If you are a simple man, you will feel your consciousness, perhaps for the first time. Do not think experiencing a fuller conscience is a pleasant experience. It can at times and on certain occasions be unbearable. We may even faint if it prolongs for more time. Human conscience is not designed to remain fully operational at all times, in all places. Only a small percentage of its alertness is needed to live, which may vary in accordance with the challenges to life that exist in that particular society, country, era or age. Distractions in the form of external voices, that of any or all other life forms inhabiting around us if we are estranged in an isolated place, is the guarantee that we will happen to continue our existence. A higher consciousness has its price, paid in the form of inability to respond biologically and logically to surroundings. Do not take it lightly; it is a step closer to gaining higher faculties, in addition to the five we human beings already have, in the present stage of our evolution and development. Intelligence is a light thing, compared to higher consciousness. Skilled ones can keep their consciousness higher, even in the midst of mayhem in a market place, like Socrates did. Theoretically speaking, higher intelligence is a pre-requisite to gaining faculties from the earth where we came from, the earth where man with his five senses and the first primitive life form with no senses at all originated and gained faculties from. They are still lying there for evolution to proceed and for man to take. If somebody through his skill gains one of them earlier, like the faculty to walk over water, our first response would be to deny it. What we cannot understand, we deny. 


In most debates and discussions, it would appear that we are speaking to automatons because there would be no hint of the person on the other side being a human being, leading a life, married, rearing children and doing jobs. To know the person on the other side does these things, relieves us. What is most attractive in reading Ms. .... is this constant feeling she creates in us readers that an active dutiful person living in a home and doing a job is speaking to us. She does teach children and prepare them for examinations, she does look after and attend to kids in her home and does go for a good night's sleep. That is what relieves us. How I would have loved to make a discussion lively and colourful and personal that way! 

The chief handicap of a debate is that the side who lost the argument has no obligation and liability to follow the arguments of the side who won, in cases where there is loss and win in that particular debate. He is free to preach his arguments as before in his daily life. It has been so everywhere, since the time of the ancient Greeks. So, the virtue and goodness of an argument in a discussion is, it is a pointer to others, pointing to where their arguments have weak points, loop holes, vulnerability. It makes us learn and correct all the while and improve our arguments. A person who comes to a debate with uncouth notions will be leaving the debate with straightened viewpoints, such that he can continue to preach his own visions more strongly, more emphatically and more majestically. That is the purpose of debates. There is no loss or win, defeat or victory, just dissemination of information and ideas as if in an university in air. 


Like gods who lay upon the lofty Olympus and laughed upon the follies of man down below, we too can have our hearty laughter dear Mr..... We do not know or we do know what we are writing or speaking in our angry moments or in our sane moments. An angry man makes many mistakes; we all do when we are. I sometimes am tempted to compile and edit everyone's observations on a subject like this, make it into a PDF and post it at least in my profile page for all of us to read, to read in calm and leisure what we told others in our calm, exhilaration or temper. Releasing it as a book for all the world to read would have been wiser for future generations to learn but rules of confidence, privacy and personal rights forbid it. Another discussion, Does A Poem Need To Follow Rules, posted in this same group by Ms. Sonia Sicat, highly edited as of today, comes to a neat 40 pages book, with a highly explosive subject like this one in the middle. This one is now nearly 30 pages. 

Mr... • Hahahahaha!



It is a person who knows that he knows not is the person who is intelligent. As a descendent of true Athenians, what Ms. .... from Greece who studied in Athens is saying is true. The insatiable lust of Socrates for rich and ripe knowledge to be got by counsel with the wise and his desire for engaging more and more in debates with knowledgeable persons in his city of Athens as he became older and older is well known, pictured graphically by Plato in his Republic. Glaucon, pictured as a learned old man, actually thought to be younger than Socrates, tells him that as he grows older, his lust to immerse deep in debates is only increasing and young men like Socrates shall not stay too long in cities but try to visit old men like Glaucon in the village more often and lead them in debates and enlighten them. It is like a mirrored door inside a mirrored door inside a mirrored door. We will be confused as to who is speaking to whom, who is actually young and who is actually aged. But in their debates, through their dialogues, Socrates draws truth and wisdom out of them, painted in words by Plato in his book equally skillfully. This lust for knowledge, which we can call a manifestation of intelligence, has been majestically painted in poetry by such worshipers of knowledge as Alfred Lord Tennyson in his Ulysses, the learned old man wishing to sail beyond the sunset and the stars in pursuit of knowledge. To read this poem, which is a tribute to this Greek idea of pursuit of knowledge, will be like entering the threshold of an ancient temple of knowledge. We know Plato devoted whole chapters to discuss this issue of the pursuit of knowledge, defining morality in literature, characteristics of ideal literature, acceptable metrics and forms of literature and how intelligence can be cultivated in future citizen guardians, the chapters being titled 'The Initial Stages Of The Education Of The Ideal Citizen. 


After reading Ms. ....'s observations on the ancient Greeks' thirst for knowledge, and the next Mr. ....'s liking that comment and response to it, reminded me what actual Socrates would have done, if he read the first. Mr. .... is Socrates reborn, the real man with the right expression and response, which Socrates was. But suppose Socrates reappears among us and makes this kind of a comment, we will not distinguish him for this kind of too much simplicity in the face of truth, the joy of finding truth, the ultimate answer to our quest for the highly intelligent man, who is rare for us to find. 


Everyone knows that intelligence exists and that there are persons with clouded intelligence and clear intelligence. Supposing we are about to define intelligence, to explain what its characteristics and manifestations are, who can do it is the question we face primarily. How can one with lesser intelligence or with no intelligence define it, for we cannot understand a thing which we are not familiar with, let alone explain it? We try to define intelligence but are we intelligent enough to know what intelligence is and how to define it? We know, generally, that sky is an expanse, stretching to unknown distances, and some believe it can be stretched infinitely. How can one who has never travelled through and lived in sky know what it exactly is and explain it except in vague terms? How can he know where to demark sky from space? We will have to arrive at the logical conclusion that non-intelligent people can never know about intelligence and define it. Do we too belong to that category? Intelligent people can know about intelligence and know how it is like but would even they be qualified to define it? All our knowledge about intelligence is based on observations made by people whom we consider one or two steps higher than us in supposed intelligence. But if they know about the true character of intelligence and the implications of having intelligence, or know what intelligence really is, would they be such unitelligent to expose it unnecessarily, if they have a notion that it cannot be cultivated through education? 


There truly can be higher intelligence. In the field of science, as pointed out in the beginning of this discussion, thinking about the possible and future consequences of an invention or discovery and the dilemma as to reveal it or hide it has been an active concern of scientists. Cavendish hiding his many discoveries for fear of misuse by future generations was cited in the beginning of this discussion. If it can be called higher intelligence, he did had it. But Albert Einstein could not help revealing to the world his equations on energy which he later highly regretted after seeing the misuse of his discovery resulting in the deaths of hundred thousands of people in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is still misused for filling this small world with thousands of nuclear reactors which have only a meagre fifty years of life time but which produce waste which lasts for several thousand years. Cavendish did not have to regret on account of his discoveries but Einstein had to. You can have now a rough estimate of how higher intelligence works. Like in the poem by Alexander Pope, a happy man is not easy to be found but by looking around us among people for characteristics of a happy life such as satisfaction, self sufficiency and piety, we can spot happy man. Higher intelligence can be spotted by looking for its characteristics among people around us and we can see many. As we already have noted in the discussion, they are not at all rare to find but we do not know what characteristics to look for. There have been healthy and positive references to what characteristics to look for in our search for the intelligent man, made by several writers including 'Clemen Corbalan' but unfortunately we did not pursue the leads. 


Military intelligence did reveal that Japan was on the brink of collapse and it was the general consensus among military echelons that no drastic actions were needed to be taken for their surrender. But participants in the Manhattan Project which devised the atom bomb was eager to see it in action and learn more about it's biological effects on human beings. This was the reason why they started the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission functioning in defeated Japan since 1946, as ordered by President Harry S. Truman. ABCC which was instituted to study radiation effects on atomic bomb casualties as a scientific research agency was distrusted by most of the world's people and finally became disfunct in 1975. There will be any number of people who would advocate for the continued existence of such establishments as was proved by it's binational incorporation as Radiation Effects Research Foundation with the help of a few misled scientists, but the people of Japan wanted it to go. Bombing the crowded cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was one fine example of knowledge going without wisdom and intelligence in spite of the finest brains in the world having been involved.

03. Article Title 3 Image By Kelle Pics. Graphics: Adobe SP.

This topic for discussion was first posted in the Linked In group ‘Language, Literature and Criticism’ by this author which is not available to readers now due to change in Linked In policies. Many learnèd scholars contributed to this discussion including Dr. Jane Humphries, Elizabeth Vangel, Natasa Radulovic, Susan Vozniac, David, Daniele Cunningham, Michael Segal, Gary Pegoda, Kim Parrish, Athina Malapani and of course your editor, P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum, and challenged me with questions and inspired me with ideas. I am grateful to them all. Only what I contributed to this discussion is included in this article. The original link which was ‘’ is not available now. That is why my views are re-published this way.

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran: 

04. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives. 

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single. 

Author of several books in English and in Malayalam, mostly poetical collections, fiction, non fiction and political treatises, including Ulsava Lahari, Darsana Deepthi, Kaalam Jaalakavaathilil, Ilakozhiyum Kaadukalil Puzhayozhukunnu, Thirike Vilikkuka, Oru Thulli Velicham, Aaspathri Jalakam, Vaidooryam, Manal, Jalaja Padma Raaji, Maavoyeppoleyaakaan Entheluppam!, The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazals, Doctors Politicians Bureaucrats People And Private Practice, E-Health Implications And Medical Data Theft, Did A Data Mining Giant Take Over India?, Will Dog Lovers Kill The World?, Is There Patience And Room For One More Reactor?, and Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

092. Is Poetry Written Or Revealed? P S Remesh Chandran


Is Poetry Written Or Revealed? P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 01. Article Title 1 Image By By Coco Parisienne. Graphics: Adobe SP.
First published: 23 July 2013


Poetry is not written, but revealed. A poet cannot be said to have written a poem, he just reveals it. Suppose a white ray of light is passing through a prism. It is split up into seven beautiful colours- violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, the vibgyor. Nobody will say that the prism is the creator of those colours, it just reveals them. After a rain tiny particles of water drops are retained in the sky through which passes the white ray of light from the Sun when it is split up into its component seven colours writing the beautiful rainbow there stretched across the sky. And nobody can say that the water particles are the creators of the rainbow, they just reveal it through their presence. 

Rainbows do not make their appearance everyday. It needs certain climatic conditions to be fulfilled, including the proper saturation of water particles in the sky after a rain, along with many other factors. Now, the white ray of life is passing through a poet when it is split up into not seven, but a multitude of colours, such that one will wonder whether a simple life is such full of colours, passions, emotions, sacrifice, chivalry and ardence. Just as a beautiful rainbow does not appear as often as we desire, so are a perfect poem and a poet too. It takes several social conditions to be fulfilled to make the appearance of a perfect poem or a poet in human society. Sometimes it happens only once in a generation and sometimes only once in a century. 

Thus it is only just fair to say that poetry is not written but revealed. It is always there in the Universe, to be discovered by some lofty mind among us. A poet's mind at times elevates to supercharged bands and wavelengths to be exulted and exhilarated by the Universe's songs and poems stored in those particular bands and wavelengths, and successfully returns with a few of them for us. 


[Regarding the argument that a scientific phenomenon like a rainbow is not right to be used here and that the comparison between poetry and the prism is not quite appropriate]: 

To denote the infrequency of real poets in a society is the metaphor of the rainbow in the sky used. Just like appearance of a rainbow needs climatic conditions met, social conditions create poets. If we are interested, we can see that wars going on have been the most favourable social condition to create the greatest number of poets at any given time. And the greatest epics of the world, in all languages, oral and written, have been follow ups of great wars human society fought in those times. We will wonder whether there aren't any other social conditions which created epic poets. Every poet is a need and creation of his times. If there was no need for one in a society at a time, even if one tried to become a poet, his name is forgotten because he was not in a condition to reflect anything considerable. Relation between beauty and poetry is relevant. It stems from imagination. It originates only from human imagination. Nature and the cosmic world has no beauty unless and until man's imagination finds beauty in them. Where is natural beauty in a hostile condition such as nature created around man? Mountains, rivers, deserts, volcanoes and jungles have no beauty in them until a human imagination accuses them of beauty. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hail storms, ice ages, meteor rains, fire balls, comets, lightning, thunder strikes, everything makes man's life hell and force him to live in a very hostile surrounding because he has nowhere else to go, leaving the world. They do not love us but our imagination loves them and finds beauty in them. Beauty in this world is pure creation of man's imagination. 


In human life there are many instances when we are forced to believe that we are parts and parcels of another greater being. We know that at times we make observations which we are not intelligent enough to make. We would not be having any history of making such intelligent and wise observations in the past. In such moments, we are forced to wonder who is speaking through us. We feel a universal being holding us like children in those moments, breathing, laughing, speaking. Even if we have not ever thought about a universal being of nature being out there and behaving to us like a father, mother, brother or sister do, we will for the first time desire for such a being to be there actually around us, recognizing how lonely human soul has become lately. Just as our senses and faculties are not added or created by us but inborn and derived, we will feel, when this universal being wants to speak, it has to speak through us. At last, when we speak we will wonder who is actually speaking. It is a heavy experience, tiring to our psyche, akin to hallucination. Only brave and experienced poets can land safely with poems. A few go to the other side of consciousness for ever. Suppose in one such experiences we are induced with the power to speak in poetry whatever we think. Whenever we are engaged in one work or the other, we will constantly hear our thoughts echoing in our brain in the form of fine songs. We will think about catching them down and publishing epics. But because of the rapidity of the flow, the flow of diction and music, we will be unable to catch them in writing because we will be too absorbed in listening to its sweetness. With time, it will become a burden to us and we will wish this faculty go away from us for ever. However, we will for the first time be convinced as to what kind of data transfer is happening in other bands of existence. 


One who sings songs can easily learn to write poems. It helps mastering the technique of arranging sounds as words in a poem. Singing as many songs as one can will create an appetite, voraciousness and lust for creating more songs our own way. It is true that if we observe children at their ages from three years to five, they can be found to be making up their own songs and singing them to themselves melodiously. All of us have done it at that age. That is a gift from Nature and the Universe to those who are come new to this world. We will wonder whether singing would be the main pastime in the Creator's land. As we become conscious of ourselves and more and more haughty and capricious in the course of our lives, this godly faculty fades away, leaving us alone in the middle of a desert of selfishness. 

Poetry is a benediction of the Muses. To make it possible, the writer should be simple in mind and consider him as a nonentity. In the Hindu philosophy, the goddess of learning and music, Saraswathi Devi, is seen sitting on a lotus flower in the water, holding the musical instrument Veena. A frequently asked question is, in spite of the weight of her learning, why does not the lotus submerge. Philosophy explains that She is simple, and so her learning has not any weight at all. Therefore the first step to learn to write poems is to shed all pride, haughtiness and capriciousness from our person, and to sing as many songs as possible. Whoever sings will feel the breathe of God on his back. It is said that He is standing just behind a person who is singing. Actually it is he who is singing; we are just the medium for his expression. 

The next prerequisite to learn to write poems is to reattain the once-lost innocence. Remember that tiny little infant making songs for herself and singing all by herself. Without offending anyone, it may here be said that such tender and ardent scenes from human life can be observed and modelled upon only in communities where children are slept with parents in their room instead of in a separate baby room, and the infants are looked after by their own mothers and not by ayahs, nurses or caretakers. Anyway, imitating those infants in instant song- making is a giant step towards learning to create poetry. 


Michael Spangle described here the architectonics of poetry, the building up of a theme over a foundation. We do join in the process of the divine act of creation as he put it, to the extent of materializing in poetic form what is going on in our minds as impositioned by the universal mind of which we are a part. By expanding what Justin W. Price said, a poem may be written down in alphabets, but a good poem is revealed to the poet, from the universal mind. When and how is known almost to all poets as Bryon Richard Smith and Bonnie Jean Flach notes. Actually all our passing thoughts are revelations from the universal mind which we cannot but capture in words and record in time due to their perpetuity and rapidity. If we could do it, we all could have authored hundreds of books each and been world poets far earlier. Margie Vieira wondered are not even our imaginations our own. They are not, it is the method of incessant communion to human beings from the universal mind. It is exactly like we picking up a conch shell from the sea shore and listening to the eternal voice of the ocean inside it, the voice of the home settings where it came from. We human beings have been imagining things since the time we split up into two from a single amoeba, emerged from the ocean and set out to live in the shore in our primitive forms, climbed into tree tops and travelled through canopied highways on all our fours, descended to live in caves without fire and then sat on our mountain cave, watching sunset and wrote the first poem on our minds. Imagination is not ours but the only way of our communion with the whole mind of the universe, leading us victorious through this march of life from the single-celled unit of protoplasm to the five-sensed man. It does not originate in us, it comes to us, a manifestation of a grand scheme of which we are a product and a guarantee that we are being looked after. We know, Einstein talked about it, in closed rooms, only with the poet Tagore. Tolstoy contradicted many things he wrote, after he experienced it, and wrote Back To Methuselah. It has been the universal experience of the universal writers, to meet with the universal mind in us, and be humbled.

02. Article Title 2 Image By By Coco Parisienne. Graphics: Adobe SP.

Before a musician conducts a symphony in public, he would have done it many times in his mind. Some times he would also have listened to and wondered at fine concerts in his mind. I once conducted a one hour orchestra in the middle of an isolated and lonely rubber plantation with no one to hear. I do not even know the a b c d of how to conduct an orchestra. While sitting there in my leisure after a late meal, enjoying the evening Sun through the foliages of a jungly growth, I got a thread of a music and climbing and ascending which, I rose higher and higher, reaching new levels and getting new threads left and right and up and down each time, and quite forgot the appropriateness of conducting an one man orchestra in a lonely place which was not my native place but where I was a too often visitor in my uncle’s house and estate, long considered as a native by people there. My cousin brother who was of my age and far better than me in singing, after a long time came in search of me and found me doing this solo in frantic enjoyment. He questioned me on where I learned to sing that way which was quite unexpected of me, for whenever I or he sang a song, it was in each other’s company, enjoying each other, singing together. Each of us knew what songs the other knew. He had never in his life heard me singing that way any time before and had not heard anyone else ascending such strains easily before; and he had heard quite a lot of Karnatic, Hindustani and classical music too. I told him I was making it, and that I did not know how I made it. The truth is, he believed me. He told me it was extra ordinarily sweet and beautiful to hear and that he had been standing there and listening to it for the entire duration and dared to appear only when it ended. He asked me to sing it again which I never could again, then or later. I still wonder who was singing through me. It happens to people like me once or twice in their life time, for they will not withstand the uncanniness of such experiences but to divinely inspired musicians, strong in psyche, I think it can happen regularly. I think I got entangled and ascended into some open bands in nature due to synchronization of wave lengths accidentally like Alice fell into the hollow and enjoyed ascending higher and higher. What would have happened if I could not descend also that way, trimming down the music-charged bands one by one and finally nullifying it, is something I still wonder. My cousin still tells me, had he not known me for my love of music and as a sturdy person in psyche, he would have arrived at wrong decisions. Such experiences are not uncommon in the world of poetry and music. Because such experiences are considered sacred and untellable taboo by those who happen to have such experiences, and considered as medical by those who happen to hear about such experiences, it is no wonder the least is mentioned about them in our literature. 


A strange thing about life is the vividness of dreams which accompany life. They can be black and white or in full colour. They can be silent movies or with sounds which even Dolby systems will pull back from in shame. Most often they can last the full length of films, at the end of which we humans will be exhausted and run for water to drink, when we wake up. It is one of the mysterious things accompanying life. We do not know for certain whether the dead also undergo this kind of experience; if they do not, it will have to be admitted that dreams are unique to life. Healthy and weak, rich and poor, young and old, all dream. Dreams do not leave even a clue as to if it is really happening in our lives or not. Scientific explanations in words and pictures have never surpassed the beauty and horror of man's dreams. Wherever we cannot go, we go in our dreams; whatever we cannot do, we do in our dreams. We run, drive, swim, fly and fight in our dreams. Why this question of dreams is raised here is to ask a simple logical question, after reading a comment in this discussion as to life being not an illusion but a real thing because we do experience pain, even while admitting the fact that life is but a real challenge which we have to face head on. Isn't there a possibility of us living in some other planet in some other age right now and lying there, dreaming about living a life on distant planet earth? Can we be certain as to whether we are actually living here or lying somewhere else and dreaming about living here? 


[Regarding the comment: P.S. Remesh Chandran, you're doing it again. You ask a question but don't actually want to know the answer -- you've already decided what the answer is. That's an odd way to 'discuss' anything. In addition to that, I have to strongly disagree with you. Writing poetry is a process that involves innumerable decisions on the part of the poet, some instinctive, some conscious, and so poetry is actively produced by the person writing it. I can say this with authority because I am a poet and I have studied poetry and poetic technique for a long time. No offense, but it is easy to make generalizations about things you have little or no hands-on experience with. Reading poetry is very different from writing it. How much poetry have you actually written (or tried to write)?]:

 03. Image By By Harli Marten. Graphics: Adobe SP.

P S Remesh Chandran 

Today I had a strange experience,
Not in this group but in another group.

‘Poetry and Lit′rature’ it is not,
In ‘Written or Revealed Poetry’ thread.

Asked, have I written poems in my life?
I found it fit to answer it this way:

I’m writing this in reply to a miss,
I have never written poems in my life.

Have wondered where these poems all come from,
From human intellect or nature’s store,

To be picked up at moments of revelation;
Or synthesized in rotten human brain!

I was inspired to write these wicked lines,
By those whose verses written were in sand:

‘Myself when young did eagerly frequent,
Doctor and saint and heard great argument,

About it and about but ever more,
Came out by the same door as in I went.’

Let us debate poetry in poems,
I hope she’ll someday answer me in kind.

I ′am not doing anything again,
But asking questions all have answers for.

I have my answers, you can have yours,
This not an illiterate arena,

Where someone asks questions and another from,
Some academic circle answers them.

Some anxious are, to questions throw around,
Some eagerly waits there to answer them;

This not such school or college where one can,
En′tertain answers not from others too.

I know I’m Alexander Pope’s close kin,
I stop here, to read Temple of Fame again.


[Regarding the comment, ‘I suggest that you skim Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense.’]: 

I do not read Nietzsche; I sing it. I sang 'On Truth And Lies In A Non-moral Sense' as Mr. Bernard Gallagher suggested, and here is the part I sang:

04. Image By By Felix Broennimann. Graphics: Adobe SP.


P S Remesh Chandran

Ages there are in which the ration’l man
And th’intuitive stand side by side, the one

In fear of intuition, or scorn for abstraction;
Irrational one, the other inartistic.

They both desire to rule over their life,
Unreal or real, counting life to be.

Prudence, foresight and regularity,
The means with which one meets needs principal.

One o’erjoyed hero disregards these needs,
Counts life as beauty and an illusion.

As in the ′case in ancient Greece, th’intuitive,
Handles his weapons authoritatively,

Victoriously than his opponent, and
Establishes art’s mastery over life.

All utensils we use in daily life,
Were made from art, not from our pressing needs.

Houses, our clothes, our clay jugs, all them were
Intended to express exalted joy.

Guided by abstractions and concepts, we
Succeeds in warding off our misfortunes,

Without ever gaining any happiness;
So that’s the case the ration’l man’s life is.

Th’intuitive man, aim freedom from his pain,
Standing a-firm amidst his culture’s frame,

Reaps cheer, illumination and redemption.
Defense against misfortunes, he obtains.

I am sad to observe that Nietzsche did not write it this way but in his eloquent flowing prose. Unfortunately, when I look at such prose and skim content, lines appear this way to me. 


A few people who create poems will think that their thoughts are their own and that they are the actual creators of their poems. It is a hard thing to recognize and admit that there is a continuity of nature's induction sweeping into a person and progressing as thoughts. If we scrutinize and zoom our thoughts we can see that we cannot put a clear boundary mark on when and where it originated and when and where it ended. If we are the actual creators of a thing, we ought to have been able to distinguish when one of our thoughts originated and ended. But we cannot say that definitely or define that process exactly. We must admit that our thoughts, and therefore our intellectual creations are continuity and culminations of the collected knowledge and thought of our society; and our society is nothing but nurtured by nature. If there is one poem created anywhere, following this logic, we can say that it was needed by society and mankind and that was why it was created by the most inducted person of that time. Not one poem created in this world is unnecessary, in this sense. As Margie Vieira asked, one question remains: can a person trained to become a poet and create poems? It certainly can be done, even though the world has seen hundred thousands of gifted poets who have not had any kind of training in verse creation. Will anyone be startled to hear that many lofty poets even did not have an education, including that Sanskrit epic poet Kalidasa? Poets can certainly be trained, because it is only a matter of thinking in poetic form, in addition to thinking with poetic beauty. The first can be achieved through training by skilled masters in person or by indirect distant influence. And the second can be attained by lifting human mind and giving it momentum, i.e. by moving it from inert state to kinetic; singing a lofty work or seeing a grand sunset may do it. One not having born with natural talent is not a handicap to become a poet, nor one does have poetic beauty in writing is an excuse for not keeping form.

05. Article Title 3 Image By By Coco Parisienne. Graphics: Adobe SP.


This topic for discussion was first posted in the Linked In group ‘Poetry & Literature by this author vide link '' and later shared in the group Language, Literature and Criticism vide link '' both of which are not available to readers now due to change in Linked In policies. Many learnèd scholars contributed to this discussion in both groups including Michael Spangle, John David Lionel Brooke, Justin W. Price, Shobha Pawar, Bryon Richard Smith, Margie Vieira, Marie Israel, Bernard Gallagher, Annette C. Boehm, and of course your editor, P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum, and challenged me with questions and inspired me with ideas. I am grateful to them all. Only what I contributed to this discussion is included in this article. The original links are not available now. That is why my views are re-published this way.

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran: 

06. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives. 

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single. 

Author of several books in English and in Malayalam, mostly poetical collections, fiction, non fiction and political treatises, including Ulsava Lahari, Darsana Deepthi, Kaalam Jaalakavaathilil, Ilakozhiyum Kaadukalil Puzhayozhukunnu, Thirike Vilikkuka, Oru Thulli Velicham, Aaspathri Jalakam, Vaidooryam, Manal, Jalaja Padma Raaji, Maavoyeppoleyaakaan Entheluppam!, The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazals, Doctors Politicians Bureaucrats People And Private Practice, E-Health Implications And Medical Data Theft, Did A Data Mining Giant Take Over India?, Will Dog Lovers Kill The World?, Is There Patience And Room For One More Reactor?, and Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.

091. Doesn’t Poetry Need To Follow Rules? P S Remesh Chandran


Doesn’t Poetry Need To Follow Rules? P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 01. Article Title 1 Image By Sponchia. Graphics: Adobe SP.

First published: 23 July 2013


A glass of water given to us in a glass is very convenient to be drunk. But what if it is poured down on a table top and we asked to drink? That is what, form is there for. The more a work of literature deviates from form and symmetry, the more difficult the path becomes for the walker to tread. A stone absent from where it must be, and a stone present where it never shall be; what will happen to us? Form and symmetry are there to ensure that the reader, viewer, listener, understands and enjoys the work of art at least as much as its creator does easily. It is not a rule but a directive. We can keep it or we may break it; either of it will decide the acceptability of our work. It is the same with poetry or painting or sculpture. We may note that, since the time of the oral epics, not a piece of poetry with no symmetry or form has survived. In painting also, none has survived. We can say Picasso, Elliot, such and such but one or two centuries are not what judge a work of art, poetry or painting. We are labouring on a poem, then why shall not labour a little more to make it fit and qualified for passing not decades but centuries, like our ancestors did? 


Think about the magnificent and streamlined shape of human beings distorted or their form becoming full of abrupt projections. Then who will not blame god for bad design and bad taste? Wherever we look, whatever we see, they are all in perfect form, which cannot be altered further, without compromising integrity or beauty. Why can't poets adopt the same principle, of refining their works to the finish? Who will be there to polish and finish it for society once it is released into public circulation? In everything else, every one wants perfection, but only in poetry, why should it be not there? Russian communist writers and intellectuals were the most accused in bringing this formlessness in poetry to the front and making it acceptable among writers. Not that there were not others equally responsible for spreading this kind of disintegration in the west. We know, Kerala State in India was the first place in the world where a communist government came into rule in 1957 through public ballot instead of bullet. This wave of formlessness in literature was their main contribution to the literature and poetic aesthetics of South India. A famous literary critic and playwright, Late Prof. M. P. Paul, ridiculed this tendency once by asking them: 'The hammer in the red flag should always have an accurate shape and perfect right angular joints. The sickle should be a perfectly arched thing with a very straight line joined to it at exactly ninety degrees. The star in the flag should be drawn with perfectly equal sides and isosceles angles. Will they tolerate if the hammer, sickle and star is drawn formless or in a loose shape? Why do they insist literature alone shall be shapeless, formless and amorphous? 


The starter of this discussion, dear Ms. Sonia Sicat, earlier wrote that poems with symmetry are wonderfully, magically, incredibly written and she is awed by them. It is simple: they not only pour out their heart and soul like almost all others but edit them too to the finish, the prime responsibility of a poet, before releasing them to public reading. Most of their poems do begin as freely flowing emotions and feelings, patternless and unsymmetrical like others but they write them down in their crude orderless form before those thoughts and emotions vanish for ever. Then they forget it and give it a few days' leave of absence from their minds. Then they take it again after a few days or weeks and begin editing, cutting and joining in their minds or on paper and give it the desired form, if they still like it, and if they don't, they throw it away. If one does not like one's work after a few days, how will people like it after years? This leave of absence for a few days when the original emotions fade away and the clarity of vision and impartiality of the editor living inside the poet takes charge, is what is important in transforming raw thoughts into finished products, in poetry. As Ms. Amber Royse here pointed out, without emotions and feelings, there can be no poetry. Poetry is anyway the involuntary outflow of feelings and emotions emanating from close and objective observations. But released unprocessed and raw, it is dreadful to read and will not pass the test of time. 


Form is a freshly bathed woman coming from a mountain stream. Rhyme is, she wearing a jungle flower also on her tresses. Why shall not we adorn our poetry? She is going away from us to people anyway. 


There is this question, asked by a learnèd friend, why poetry as an art form should rely on rules which box in these expressions of feelings and senses and also box in the freedom of poetry to soar as poetry is a more concise form of literature than prose. 

The old Persian and Arabic poets faced this very problem of containing their voluptuously flowing emotions, within fixed metrical forms and what they did to solve this problem was to expand the metrical form to contain all their thoughts, or devise new ones. Thus, we have got a set of exotic poems which originated primarily from deserts. Poets like Hafiz, Rumi and many others thrilled the world with the finished products of such bold experiments in poetry. Later English translators who were excited by these exotic creations respected the boldness of these experiments, continued this in their own laguage which they soon found to be lacking in suitable metrical forms to accommodate the guests, and did justice to these old poets by adhering to their unusual metres and rendering those translations beautifully. These poets, who were mostly contemporaries of Omar Khayyam, did not feel any difficulty in containing their extraordinarily frantic poetic emotions within the poetic metres they elaborated, and their translators like Edward Fitzgerald also did not feel much difficulty in translating them and introducing them to the English-speaking world. 


Listen to these lines which came to English from Spanish, evolving from loose verse into a more desirable poetic form. I am sure someone among this international assemblage will post the Spanish original here: 

You may ask me why I do not
Sing about the beautiful
Flowers, rivers, volcanoes and
Mountains of my native land;

You come to the street, and see the blood of,
Children flowing, through the streets.

[From Third Residence On Earth]. Spanish poet Pablo Neruda wrote Canto General in loose verse. Translated as such into English by unknown. Recast in the true poetic form by me for my singing. Anything can be done in poetry; we can break rhythm and metre or keep it. There is no rule but there is taste. 

Most skilled poets do the editing and rewriting of their poems in their own minds. What is most important is, not to write them down before doing this and send them to a publisher or printer. Poets like William Wordsworth created so many inferior poems this way, making access and entry into the few good poems in the middle of this jungle hard and impractical, to put it in the words of the famous poet and critic Matthew Arnold. Practically, these innumerable inferior poems made his good poems inaccessible for the reader. If we closely inspect all the poems of Wordsworth with a determination to leave not a single one of them uninspected, what we will wonder at would be, not why Arnold condemned that much large a number of his poems but what Arnold would have said about those countless poems we read everyday now, online and in print, had he lived today. 


When wise persons engage in a discussion, all points and views on a particular issue will be dissected and discussed and new information will be brought out. A discussion which serves its purpose, like the one here on whether poetry should follow metrics and form or not, sheds more light on the issue and is expected to help participants in the discussion and others who read it better their views on the subject debated. The normal consequence of this in an educated person would be shedding the theories of logic and embracing the new knowledge added. Persons with a right and healthy sense would do it, which is fairly better than clinging to one's old arguments. That is what education and refinement is- refinement of knowledge and refinement of person. Even though no one is expected to win in a discussion, everyone is expected to modify their view points in time. Adamant adherence to old and incomplete presentations is not expected here; here it is not an argument but a discussion. We know what rules of logic are and how people argue to the end. All chairs have four legs and all tables have four legs; therefore all chairs are tables! Such rul-o-matic arguments are not possible here nor are they illuminating. People gradually modifying their views are what are normal and logical here, in a discussion by the interested and the refined, not accusing others of changing their arguments. 


No rules can be imposed on human mind that wants to express itself. Rules are not laws but directive principles to guide an artist to make his expressions understandable to others easily and well. If there are rules, and artists mind these rules, it will make it better and easier for the reader or viewer to stand within a common frame of rules and understand the work of different artists coming from different places and different ages without much intellectual tiring. You know, even while wavering dramatically from conventional themes and going after frantic conceptions of imagery, Salvador Dali did not waver much from the rules of his medium, when he painted that melting clock. But Picasso wavered much from the rules of his medium when he drew the lesser frantic image of condemnation of war in his Guernica which made his work more difficult to understand for people who are trained and accustomed to standing within familiar frames of rules. It is no use, claiming a new set of rules or no rules or special rules made to understand and enjoy each artist’s works as he or she comes. In this wide world, there cannot be that many sets of rules or the anarchy of a total absence of any rules to make it easy to understand and enjoy each writer and painter. It is not feasible or practical. But it is not to be denied that too much number of works in a particular rulelessness coming into circulation, like an abundance of free verse poems and abstract paintings, will also bring along new sets of its own rules into being, to help the world’s people to evaluate and typify them. You know what a common man said after looking closely at Picasso’s Guernica for a long time? ‘The artist loves his father but does not know who he is or how he looks like. He asked his mother and she told him that he had a great moustache. He attempts to draw his father on the canvass. He drew half of a great moustache but soon learns that he cannot draw something he has not actually seen and abandons it there. Then he thought about drawing a great ass instead but stopped after drawing parts of a great cow, understanding that he cannot draw something which he has not seen in full. Irritated, he angrily wiped his brush here and there on the canvass.’ When someone standing there and listening to this exclamation asked, ‘Then why did he write his name at the bottom of the painting?’ he retorted: ‘And how else will he know later which the bottom of the picture is and which the top is?’ 


Poets are a very lazy lot. They do not like to edit their poems and do not even consider those people who like to sing them rather than reading. I belong to the first category. To be plain, if I find a poem unable for me to be sung anyway, I throw it away and take another to work on. Sometimes, some poems will offer great scope for beautiful singing and dancing, even though they might not have been cared to be altered and released by their creators for this purpose. My journeyman profession and passion is to alter them in the least possible way to make me enable to sing them so that I can have my sweet daily digest. This discussion has several very good poems which I did not read but sang with pardonable alterations, in my own way. They are William Martin's Carnival Life, Sonia Sicat's Scents, Jonathan Robin's A Dog's Life and Gather Ye Kittens and J. P. Rao's The Power Within. Walter William Safar's My Little Card Board Home and The Captain, I did not attempt but I intend to. Janice T's Mr. Blake's Tomatoes and John David Lionel Brooke's Poetic Form Fool and There Is No Edifice In My Edification did not give me any trouble at all because they could be sung as such. 


The finest piece of creation which moved me emotionally but troubled me by challenging my craft was Margie Vieira’s untitled poem which I conveniently titled Little Children Leading. She is the laziest with the loftiest poetic sense, in my humble opinion. I am reintroducing herewith how I sang her song, with her permission of course. If she objects, which I do not expect, I will withdraw. 

Little Children Leading

By Margie Vieira

I see them running/ and playing, the /laughter coming/
Re’maining thereafter.

The child approaches /me and saying, / "Would you like to/
Play?" Those simple words/

Of th’innocent has/ such a way, dis/playing their
Sim/plicity of life.

I strive to see and/ be as we all/ were once,
Running and skipping,

Laughing, enjoying /moments, leading/ one to believe this is
How it all should be.

I a/ttempt to flee, from the/ strife of life, ob/serving, learning
From the innocent.

Take time-out someday, /go to a park, and/ ponder on the/
Lark as he’s singing,

And conveying sen/timents to his /loved one,
No contempt, no attempt,

To lie or be sly, /only puri/ty and maturi/ty
Of a living essence,

Forging toward happiness.

I do not know what kind of a thing dear Margie Vieira's poem has now become.

Margie Vieira: P S Remesh, I thank you with the most humble gratitude. You made it into a poem. To me they were words from my heart, but I do not know how to take them apart and been seen as a song. 

P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum:

For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a magic shadow show,
Played in a box whose candle is the Sun,
Round which we phantom figures come and go.'

[From Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam]

I was used to reading famous writers' letters to other famous writers of their times in my boyhood days, and was thrilled to read about what extra ordinary things each of them wrote to and did to the others. So, as a writer, dear Margie Vieira, be prepared for anything extra ordinary and unusual from other writers in this world. Times have not changed much. It is still a world of many interesting people. 


Regarding my friend Late. John David Lionel Brooke’s comment: ‘P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum, wonderful poetic points from a person with a poetic name’. 

Dear John David Lionel Brooke, you might not be knowing how that name was derived and came into being. P is my mother's initial and S my father's. Remesh in Sanskrit means Lord of the Lotus or The Sun. Chandran in Sanskrit means The Moon. Trivandrum is the name of my place, the capital city of Kerala. So the name P.S.Remesh Chandran, Trivandrum means the Sun and Moon of Trivandrum, a Son of P and S. I cannot change it. But my friends have conveniently shortened it to the two initials. 

John David Lionel Brooke: P. S. Thank you for your poetic comment about your full name and where you are in the universe. Sun and Moon in Trivandrum sounds just right for you. 

P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum: After reading dear Mr. John David Lionel Brooke's I CAN'T LOVE POEM, I was tempted to read again Rupert Brooke's poem THE GREAT LOVER and think I have the liberty to take it that John David Lionel Brooke is a great person who loves things cars houses boats guitars stereos clothes, abstracts sunrises sea lakes deserts skies sports chess, tasting chocolates cookies cakes smoothies kisses, smelling perfumes fresh baked breads, feeling healthy powerful sexy omnipotent , hearing compliments music jazz singing plain songs and people dogs cats. What a lovable person!

01. Article Title 1 Image By JR Korpa. Graphics: Adobe SP.


This topic for discussion was first posted in the Linked In group ‘Language, Literature and Criticism’ by Ms. Sonia Sicat as ‘Does a poem need to follow rules?’ which is not available to readers now due to change in Linked In policies. Many learnèd scholars contributed to this discussion including Ms. Sonia Sicat, William Martin, Mike Snider, John David Lionel Brooke, Amber Royse, Venkatesh Kangovi Narasimhamurthy, Madeline Coelho, Barbara DeShane, Michelle Lommen, Margie Vieira, Edward Rodney Adcox and of course your editor, P S Remesh Chandran Trivandrum, and challenged me with questions and inspired me with ideas. I am grateful to them all. Only what I contributed to this discussion is included in this article. The original link which was '' is not available now. That is why my views are re-published this way.

About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran: 

03. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives. 

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single. 

Author of several books in English and in Malayalam, mostly poetical collections, fiction, non fiction and political treatises, including Ulsava Lahari, Darsana Deepthi, Kaalam Jaalakavaathilil, Ilakozhiyum Kaadukalil Puzhayozhukunnu, Thirike Vilikkuka, Oru Thulli Velicham, Aaspathri Jalakam, Vaidooryam, Manal, Jalaja Padma Raaji, Maavoyeppoleyaakaan Entheluppam!, The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazals, Doctors Politicians Bureaucrats People And Private Practice, E-Health Implications And Medical Data Theft, Did A Data Mining Giant Take Over India?, Will Dog Lovers Kill The World?, Is There Patience And Room For One More Reactor?, and Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.