RAJ NANDY

THE HEALING POWER OF POETRY - by Raj Nandy

Dear Poet Friends, having become a member of this great site from today the 25th of Jan.

I commence by posting one of my earlier popular poem, which was much appreciated by the

readers of other poetry sites. Hope you will like this researched composition of mine.

Wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year -2017.        

 

 

     THE HEALING POWER OF POETRY

The word poetry derives from the Greek word 'poesis',

Meaning 'a making' of a literary art form.

Where language is used for its evocative, aesthetic and

emotional response.

A poem is an emotional-intellectual-physical construct,

meant to touch its reader's heart!

Poetry links one individual to another by its distilled experience.

Through its rhythm of words and imagery, driving away our

inner loneliness.

 

"Words are the physicians of the diseased mind", -

Oceanus tells Prometheus in ancient Greek mythology.

Thus the Oracle at Delphi, used the healing power of poetry.

Through their various ritualistic chants and incantations,

The Oracle tamed many a savage mind into subjugation!

The Roman physician Soranus in the first century AD,

Prescribed poetry and drama for his patients who were

mentally oppressed;

Tragedy for his maniac patients, and Comedy for the

depressed!

The great psychiatrist Sigmund Freud had clarified,

That it was not he, but the Poet who discovered the

subconscious mind!

Freud went on to say that the human mind is a

poetry-making organ.

Where focus of 'poetry for healing' is self-expression

and growth of the individual,

Whereas focus of 'poetry as an art' becomes the poem

itself!

But both use the same technique Freud had said, -

Like words, rhythm, metaphor, sound and images.

But in the end the result is the same.

The word 'therapy' comes from the Greek word 'therapeia',

Meaning to nurse or cure through dance, song, drama or poetry.

Perhaps the divine way to poetic therapy!

It is therefore not surprising that Asclepius the Greek God of Healing, -

Is the son of Apollo the God of Poetry and Medicine!

 

Now the first hospital for the mentally ill in the American Colonies,

Was set up in Pennsylvania in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin.

Where a number of ancillary treatments were used, -

Including the writing of poetry and reading them aloud,

Composed by patients who were mentally ill! (@ see notes below)

'Bibliotherapy' was the term used for poetic therapy.

Which became popular during the sixties and the seventies.

Also effectively used in Group Therapy with patients sharing

their feelings and emotions.

Thereby providing a release for their inner pain and tension!

The rhythm and repetition of words often created a hypnotic

trance, reaching out to those 'secret places' creating a bridge, -

To that unconscious mind from which poetry springs!

Friends, in support of what I have just said let me quote,

Those immortal lines which Robert Frost once wrote;-

"The woods are lovely dark and deep,

 But I have promises to keep,

 And miles to go before I sleep,

 And miles to go before I sleep." (#see notes)

-----------------------------------------------------------

NOTES:- Initially poetry was orally recited and also sung accompanied by the music of

the lyre. After the invention of writing, it started to develop its own form. Forms make 

arrangement out of derangement, harmony out of discord, and order out of chaos.

@= Writings of some of those patients were published in a newspaper titled 'The Illuminator'.

#= Lines quoted at the end are from 'Stopping By The Woods on A Snowy Evening' by Robert

Frost, which was extensively used for poetic therapy in the Hospitals.

**ALL COPY RIGHTS RESERVED BY THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI.**

 

Comments3

  • janetaylor

    excellent research was done for this informative piece. i had no idea about the quote from freud. thank you for teaching me these concepts today. it is lovely that frost's work was used for therapy. he is an amazing poet. great work!

    • RAJ NANDY

      Thanks Jane for your kind comments! - Raj, New Delhi.

    • Tony36

      Great write. I find poetry to be very healing both mentally as well as emotionally

    • Fay Slimm

      Your illuminating words on the meaning and historic use of poetry shows how much research is needed to construct such a helpful lesson in the where and why of poetry's abilities to relax the mind - - Raj may I add a warm welcome to this friendly site and a very sincere thank you for posting this fine introduction to your admirable work with eloquent words. Looking forward to more of your wonderful talent for teaching through verse.

      • RAJ NANDY

        Thanks dear Fay! Your kind comments made my day! - Raj, New Delhi.



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