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  • Syarif and Sarah from ELEVEN

Musings of a Poet (Part 2 ft. Bhing Navato) | #weareE18VEN

Joined by poets Cyril Wong and Bhing Navato, we explore what poetry means for the soul and beyond. Watch our conversation with them through the YouTube video and return to read our reflections!

Poetry as a Bridge to the Outside

Cyril quotes Rumi’s “Be melting snow, wash yourself of yourself,” as he associates writing to being one with the environment. I resonate with this, in a way that Poetry grounds me; poetry plants my foot in the soul; poetry compacts my roots. It inspires an enhanced consciousness that allows us to be more informed and engaged with the communities we find ourselves in. Bhing is a shining example: she uses poetry as a medium to convey the stories of migrant workers in advocating for their wellbeing. In this way, poetry is not just aesthetic, but functional.

Poetry and The Soul of Self

The poets serve as inspiration to wield poetry as an avenue of self-reflection in navigating the intrinsic self. Cyril believes poetry increases self-awareness, in a way that allows him to observe his growth. Poetry becomes as an archive of sorts to express and shelve different versions of the self. The art form prompts Cyril to refrain from stasis, instead encouraging him to seek evolution. One changes all the time, whether they like it or not. But it is through this change that we can reconnect with our truest selves and be reminded of the values we hold on to and the goals we really want to achieve. Bhing uses poetry to reflect on who she is and who she wants to become. Allow yourself to experiment in ways that do not succumb to material categories or peer pressure - give yourself space to discover a self that is soulful and truly, you.

Poetry and The Soul of Others

That being said, Cyril made it clear that soul-searching is never just a personal endeavour nor a process that only concerns the self. Instead, soul-searching is being mindful of your relationships with others, for it is through this undertaking that one can decentralise his ego. He selflessly transforms his written sentiments into something meaningful for others, so that they too can benefit from his writing. Making poetry meaningful for others is also a project Bhing undertakes in her writing, as she is intentional about catering her writing to diverse audiences so that more can appreciate the experiences of migrant workers. This reminds us of the power of storytelling - it can provide others a respite from the conundrums of reality whilst still serving as a platform to distil pivotal lessons to be applied to reality. It is inspiring how she creates creative narratives which weave important values and messages for her readers and listeners to take home.

Concluding Thoughts

A key takeaway from Cyril and Bhing is the power of poetry in practising empathy. They have allowed me to see how poetry can tell stories, change perceptions and move people in ways I previously could not have imagined. I am inspired to use poetry as a medium to advocate for change through narratives that centralise diverse emotions and experiences that are felt by all.

Additionally, they showed me that poetry can be wielded in our pursuit of self-betterment as it serves as an avenue for documenting and reflecting our growth. I am excited to cultivate self-care and self-awareness through my writing.

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