Is There a Difference Between a Poem and a Song?

Languages are born with intonations and into intonations. They are primarily sound waves. Musicality is also constitutive of waves. Now, does that bring to your imagination: sea waves, air waves, microwaves etc.etc.etc.?

Yes, we breathe and live in a wavy galaxy.

There was the silence. And then boom! The waves happened. The sound happened. The words happened. The speech happened. The language happened. The poetry happened. The song happened.

Or the song happened and then poetry happened? Or both happened together?

But we are at a stage of evolution where we do not classify anything and everything that happens in language as poetry or song. I am not saying that we can give a definition to these two genres of expression. Of course we cannot. But one can say they are the genres of feeling. So, they are kin at the level of their conception as waves and at the level of feeling. They are waves created out of waves and seeded back into the world of waves. Yet, do you also ponder upon their being separate genres? Is it true that what cannot be sung, cannot be poetry?

In many cultures around the world poetry was written to be sung so much so that distinction between the two genres was not even considered. In fact some scholars say that human cultures began with the oral tradition with verse forms composed only to be sung. It is a very popular statement by literary giants that poetry comes with its own music. And even today we see poetry turning into songs thereby entering into a circle of consciousness wider than it inhabited before. Wikipedia lists a number of songs based on poems. Here is the link: . Indian cinema is full of poetry turned into songs. There is a long tradition of Ghazals culminating into songs.


Everyone who has read a lot of poetry and heard a lot of songs must be having their own answers for the question. Here is what I feel about it:

We encounter poetry as written word (or if sung, then as sound, but then it is a song) and a song as sound. In a poem we meet the “abilities” of a series of words. In a song, we meet one of that ability manifested: the ability to flow like a river without becoming conscious of the same. I talk about the abilities of a poem and yet if a poem turns into a song, it is a fact, that it enters wider social consciousness.

Imagine what kind of a song T.S.Eliot’s Wasteland, if tried, can turn into? Words just do not turn into a song in a macabre context. Yet there is, Amrita Pritam’s “Aj Akkhan Waris Shah Nu” sung by Wadali Brothers. Amrita Pritam urges Waris Shah–punjabi sufi poet who authored Heer Ranjha–in the grotesque context of Indian Partition. And then there is our very own Bob Dylan: the song writer; the literary Nobel laureate 2017.  This gives us another question to wonder about: what kind of poems turn into songs? Of course, a poem comes with its own music, but then what is their in it which marries it to a musician’s (artist other than the poet) creation? It will not let us know… 😀

Poetry lets us be with the uncertain. It gifts us and leaves us with something which always and always slips out of our hands. It plays. It is it’s andaaz–it’s style and it’s way. And may be so does it is of songs…

The court is open for discussion.



PS: What I am going to write about constitutes human feeling and its writing over.

Especially as kids-the revolutionary kids-our cries, sadness, rebellion, happiness, erupted out of some elder trying to either discipline us or make us feel committed to something. By the way, do we not still rebel? Have we grown up yet? Have we evolved enough to let commitment or discipline seep in? Don’t we, even now, doodle and dawdle like kids and feel like giving a kick to whoever established that establishment? But then even doodling and dawdling requires a kind of commitment or discipline. Even dawdling starts slipping out of our hands as soon as the sense of stagnation seeps in, which means what we really wish to kick off is this sense of stagnation. Though human life kicks one enough to not even think about this stagnation, yet we cannot deny its seeping in, even if for few seconds. Though some proportion of our feeling is weaved out of our sense of being committed or disciplined, a portion of it is also written because we either don’t want to be committed or don’t want to be tamed by discipline. We, sometimes, want to fly without nesting or resting…which is too ambitious. Commitment or discipline is about nesting or resting; they give one roots.

It seems you don’t really agree. That’s why I will try to think about the words: discipline and commitment separately; what is there in them that aches the human soul and what can heal it. I will only try thinking about them as,

Yet all that I have learn’d
By long experience, and in famous schooles,
Is but to know my ignorance at last.
Who think themselves most wise are greatest fools.

William Alexander, Earl of Stirling

Admission as a disciple of the ‘discipline’ can do one wonders. It is definitely a challenge to become one. But then there is another word called ‘commitment’, which opens its arms again only to challenge the human spirit. Both though drive us away from procrastination one is tempted to ask: is there a difference between the two or both of them employ their energies to tame the human being? Yes, words do possess energies which constructs civilizational sensibility. Civilizational sensibility constructed by the words commitment and discipline have invariably made us confront the difference between what civilization wants of us and what we want of ourselves. Why? Why is there a difference between what civilization wants of us and what we want of ourselves? Does that mean we want to be spoiled brats and it wants us to be table mannered children? Whatever the answers to these questions, it is almost certain that discipline has in its connotation the tendency to rule while commitment means self rule. To be ruled is suffocating while to rule one’s own self for the sake of commitment is liberating. But then can we teach kids to be committed without making them undergo a rigorous discipline plan? A movement from discipline to commitment is required or should we be reared as committed beings?

I feel what arrest is to discipline, anchor is to commitment. It is in human nature to search for anchors but escape arrest. Yet, arrest, many a times makes us visit what was hitherto not visited. That means arrest is constitutive of movement but so are anchors. An anchored boat can be liberated at any point of time. Oops…are we entering into another debate… between anchoring and arresting?

But I am sure that since you are not getting any answers out of this post, you feel I must be committed or disciplined enough to provide you with some anchors. But, didn’t I arrest you for a while? :D… by the use of that PS: in beginning…


WordPress was introduced to me by a friend. Since that introduction this blogging space has gradually become my niche. It has become a means of catharsis, entertainment, and knowledge.

Here, written word, photographs, videos, music, world of reading, research, and much more comes laced with the context of people’s lives, which is what I love the most. As I am inclined towards text I read individual worlds everytime I login. I have witnessed text from India, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, various American and United Kingdom nations, and from many more places. I have infact met very passionate foreign astrologers here and that surprises me as I had this preconcieved notion that astrologers no more exist outside India. And I did not take the trouble of clearing that doubt by researching online. So, a foreign astrologer was another discovery here. Just one thing I have started craving for now is text from extraterrestrial, outer space. If anybody from there happens to read this please feel free to comment. 😀

A Plea


Don’t write,

Don’t write

Was asserted

Yesterday,day before yesterday and many days before yesterday.


Ever since the conception

Imposed a ban on lexiconic creation.

Exposition and exhibition of mental faculties and

Sentimental idiosyncracies could erupt out of your text.

This warning






Many of us.

But assertions and impositions

Strengthens the power of opposition.

Living in a den is easy; how many tools you need?

Oral tradition forefathers died in days gone by

Yearning to read and write

To understand their forefathers’ context.

Pledge with me

To leave some legacy

For 3G psychologists, psychiatrists, language scientists and

sociologists, literary scholars, anthropologists and biologists….

Know Keats and his context through his writing,

Chaucer and his context through his writing,

Bhagwad Gita

Through writing.

All ‘action’ is preserved through writing.

Kejriwal is recording himself through writing.

Catastrophes, strophes came down to us through

Reading and writing.

Runes: product of imagination, grace or intellect

Reaped benefits through

Reading and writing.

Study of mankind is man itself

and best pursued via

 Actors : Imaginative writers plus

Users : Imaginative readers.

Writing is Sahitya.

Read those labor laden books

Because context in original is presented best in text

For oral tradition is long gone by

Write my child Write

Safeguard your thoughts before they die.