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  • Writer's pictureNavyaa Patel

Poetry's master lessons

What was your first encounter with poetry? Perhaps, a nursery rhyme a parent or a grandparent read to you? Maybe instead poetry helped you with your grammar, remember school house rock? I had my first encounter with poetry in the 7th grade. It was during this period of grief that I found solace and refuge in the art of poetry. The words penned by various poets resonated with the emotions I was grappling with. This unexpected encounter with poetry became a source of comfort, allowing me to navigate the complex emotions that accompany loss. One day, I happened to be simply bored in science class when I stumbled upon a poem written by Philip Martson, After. It goes like this; A little time for laughter,

A little time to sing,

A little time to kiss and cling,

And no more kissing after that.


A little time for scheming

Love’s unperfected schemes;

A little time for golden dreams,

Then no more any dreaming.


A little while ’twas given

To me to have thy love;

Now, like a ghost, alone I move.

About a ruined heaven.


A little time for speaking,

Things sweet to say and hear;

A time to seek, and find thee near,


Then no more any seeking. I never really forgot the lines I read that day. I’d never picture the fleeting nature of love and the inevitability of its end like this.

“A little time for speaking,

Things sweet to say and hear;

A time to seek, and find thee near,

Then no more any seeking.”

These lines struck a deep chord within me, prompting me to reflect on how I process fulfillment in any relationship of mine.


While reading the poem, I just could not neglect a few beautiful nuances created by the poet. For instance, in the first stanza, the juxtaposition of ‘’laughter’’, ‘’sing’’ and ‘’kiss and cling’’ with the abrupt ‘’then no more kissing after that’’ immediately introduces themes of sudden loss. Furthermore, in the second stanza,

‘’A little time for scheming Love’s unperfected schemes;

A little time for golden dreams,

Then no more dreaming.’’

The ideas of realism craft their way in. The stanza showcases that life is fully created with twists and turns, not all plans made by you are fructified. The term "unperfected schemes" shows the imperfections in the plans which were made while dreaming about a rosy future, adding a layer of realism. The sudden shift to "Then no more any dreaming" echoes the inevitable change or perhaps end to one's golden dreams.


Personally, I found the third paragraph the most soul-stirring.

‘’A little while ’twas given To me to have thy love;

Now, like a ghost, alone I move.

About a ruined heaven.’’

Perhaps, the imagery of ghosts might have scared me! But, jokes apart, the juxtaposition of heaven, the greatest symbol of happiness, with the idea of it being ruined, intensifies the sorrow of losing something once cherished.


The final stanza made my heart ache. This stanza especially drew circles back to intimate and happy moments in my life. It truly encapsulated life’s journey, to finding love and losing that same love.


In my personal experiences, this poem echoed the bittersweetness of any relationship. I feel, it is not only about loss but cherishing every moment of life with your loved one. Each stage of life, whether it's the first time meeting or the last time meeting, holds great value. This poem fosters a balance for both joy and sorrow. By using this philosophy we can cultivate a deeper sense of appreciation for our relations, side by side preparing ourselves for inevitable change.

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