Hazrat Inayat Khan now gives insight into the poetic nature. The previous post is here.
The poet is a creator, and he creates in spite of all that confronts him. He creates a world of his own. By so doing, he rises naturally above that plane where only what is visible and touchable is regarded as real. When he sings to the sun, when he smiles to the moon, when he prays to the sea and when he looks at the plants, the forests and at life in the desert, he communicates with nature. In the eyes of the ordinary person he is imaginative, dreamy and visionary, and his thoughts seem to be in the air. But if one asks the poet what he thinks of these others, he will say that it is those who cannot fly who remain on the ground. It is natural that creatures who walk on the earth are not always able to fly. Those who fly in the air must have wings. Among human beings one will find that same difference, for in human beings there are all things. There are souls like germs and worms, there are souls like animals and birds, and there are souls like jinns and angels. Among human beings all can be found – those who belong to the earth, those who dwell in heaven, and those who dwell in the very depths.
Those who were able to soar upward by the power of their imagination have been living poets. What they said was not only a statement, it was music itself. It not only had rhythm, but it also had tone. It made their souls dance, and it would make anyone dance who heard it. Thus Hafiz of Shiraz gives a challenge to the dignified, pious men of his country when he says, ‘Pious friends, you would forget your dignity if you would hear the song which came from my glowing heart.’ It is such souls who have touched the highest summits of life so that they have been able to contribute some truth, giving an interpretation of human nature and the inner law of life.
It is another thing with poets who have made poetry for the sake of fame, name or popularity, or so that it might be appreciated by others – for that is business, not poetry. Poetry is an art, an art of the highest degree. The poet’s communication with nature brings him, in the end, to communicate with himself. By that communication he delves deeper and deeper within and without, communicating with life everywhere. This communication brings him into a state of ecstasy, and in his ecstasy, his whole being is filled with joy. He forgets the worries and anxieties of life, he rises above the praise and blame of this earth, and the things of this world become of less importance to him. He stands on the earth, but gazes into the heavens. His outlook on life becomes broadened and his sight keen. He sees things that no one else is interested in, that no one else sees.
This teaches us that what may be called heaven or paradise is not very far from man. It is always near him, if only he will look at it. Our life is what we look at. If we look at the right thing, then it is right. If we look at the wrong thing, then it is wrong. Our life is made according to our own attitude, and that is why the poet proves to be self-sufficient, and also indifferent and independent. These qualities become as wings for him to fly upward. The poet is in the same position as anyone else in regard to the fears and worries that life brings, the troubles and difficulties that everyone feels in the midst of the world. Yet he rises above these things so that they do not touch him.
To be continued…