Osho on Poetry and Poets

Question – For ten years i have identified myself as a poet. but since i took sannyas ten days ago it has become unimportant to me whether or not i ever write another verse, even though i have often heard you praise the poet. what has happened?

Osho – The first thing: you cannot be identified as being a poet, because poetry is something that happens only when you are not there. If you are there, it will just be rubbish. It happens only when you are absent. That’s why it is so beautiful. It comes into your emptiness: it fills you — your vacuum. You become pregnant with the unknown, with the strange.

The poet is just a mother. The mother is not going to produce the child. The child has been conceived: at the most the mother is tending it, caring for it deep within her heart, trying to give it a body — not the soul. Poetry comes to you just like a child is conceived — in deep love. In deep receptivity you become a womb and the poetry is conceived. It is a pregnancy. And one has to be very careful because miscarriage is always possible: you can abort; you can be too much in a hurry and you can destroy it.

Allow it to settle within your being, It will take its own time; it will grow by and by. It will grow in your unconscious. Your conscious is not needed; your conscious will be an interference. Forget about it, let it grow. You will feel heavy — your whole being will be as if you are carrying a burden. Nice, pleasant, but still a burden. And then one day, the child is born. In that moment, not only the child is born — the mother is also born.

When the poetry is born, then the poet is born. It is not the poet who writes the poetry. In fact, it is the birth of poetry which creates the poet. You were not a poet before it — only by its birth. A woman becomes a mother. A mother is a totally different category from the ordinary woman. A woman is a woman — a mother is totally different. She has conceived something of the beyond; she has carried the beyond into her womb and she has given it a body.

The poet is born when the poetry is born. It is a shadow of the poetry, a consequence of the poetry. It succeeds poetry, it does not precede it. There was no poet before, there was no mother before. There was a man, there was a woman, but there was no poet, there was no mother. The mother comes into existence after the poetry has happened. But ordinarily, whatsoever you call poetry is not poetry. It is just a mind thing. You think it; you write it.

Whatsoever you write is prose and whatsoever God writes through you is poetry. It may have the form of prose — it doesn’t matter. Whatsoever Buddha says or Jesus says is poetry. The form is prose, that is not the point. It is poetry because God writes it: the whole writes it through the part; the ocean tries to give you a message through the drop. Whenever YOU write, it is prose — ordinary prose. Whenever God writes THROUGH you, it is poetry. It may be prose… it is still poetry.

You cannot be identified with being a poet. That will be a disturbance, that will destroy the whole music and the whole harmony. So it is good — good that the identification has dropped, good that you have forgotten about poetry, good that it doesn’t seem to affect you in any way now whether you write or not. This is the right situation. Now for the first time there is a possibility that poetry may happen.

I cannot say, “It WILL happen,” because poetry cannot be predicted. If you predict it, again the mind will start functioning and waiting and trying and doing something about it. No, you completely forget about it. It may take months, it may take years, it may take your whole life, but some day — if you have really completely forgotten your identification — you will become the medium. Something will flow through you.

It will come through you, but it will be of the beyond. Then you will be a watcher, a witness to it. You won’t be a poet; you will be a witness. And when it is born, a different quality of being will come in its wake. That’s what a poet is. All great poets are humble, they don’t claim.

The Upanishads are not even signed — nobody knows who wrote them. The greatest poetry and the poets have not even tried to sign it, they have not left their signatures. That would have been profane. They have left the poetry, but they have not claimed. They were just vehicles.

A real poet is a vehicle, a medium. That’s why I praise poetry so much — because it is very close to meditation, very close to religion — the closest neighbor. The politician works with the practical, the scientist with the possible, the poet with the probable, and the mystic with the impossible. The probable is the closest neighbor of the impossible — that’s why I praise poetry.

But when I praise poetry, I am not praising your poets. Ninety-nine percent of them are just writing junk. They are doing a mind thing, an ego-trip. They manage, that’s all — but poetry doesn’t come through them. You can write poetry. Technically it may even be correct, but it may be dead. Sometimes it happens that a poem is technically not correct but it is alive. Who bothers about whether a thing is technically correct or not? The real thing is whether it is alive or not.

If you are going to become a mother, would you like a child who is technically correct but dead? A plastic child: technically, absolutely right; you cannot find a fault…. In fact, if you want technically correct human beings, then only plastic beings are possible, Only they can be absolutely correct. A real, alive child has so many defects — bound to be so, because life exists in danger and death.

Only a dead thing is out of danger. Life is always a hazard: there are a thousand and one difficulties to be crossed, riddles to be solved. The very phenomenon that life exists is a miracle, with so many imperfections….

Life is imperfect because life is a growing phenomenon. Anything that is growing will be imperfect, otherwise how will it grow? Anything that is perfect is already dead: it is good for the grave — you cannot do anything else with Ninety-nine percent of your poets are just writing junk; they give birth to dead children. Sometimes — and only sometimes, rarely — a poet is there. And whenever such a phenomenon as the poet exists, which is a miracle on this earth, just next to him is the mystic. One step more and he will become a mystic.

If the poet tries to take wing a little more, he will become a mystic. And if the mystic, in his compassion, descends a step towards you, he will become a poet. Poetry is a communication of the mystery of life. Unless you have felt it, how can you communicate? Poetry is a relationship between you and the whole. Something transpires between the drop and the ocean, between the leaf and the tree. Something transpires between the whole and the part, and the part starts dancing, the part is so overflowing with joy that it sings… so delighted that its movements become poetic. It no longer walks on the earth — it flies.

Prose is just walking on the earth; poetry is a flight into the sky. Prose is just walking, poetry is dancing. The movements are the same, but the quality is tremendously different. Good — you are blessed if the identification is gone. And that’s what I’m trying to do through sannyas. When your old identification is gone, you are left in a vacuum. Only in the vacuum can the hands of God descend in you and create something out of the mud that you are, create something beautiful. It will not be-yours — it will come through you.

Rejoice that the identification is gone; don’t try to bring it back. Forget all about it, forget all about everything that you know in relation to poetry, poetics. Forget everything — just rejoice in being yourself. Suddenly one day you will fall in line with the whole — a turning in, a tuning in, and a song will descend like a dove. Then you will be, for the first time, a poet. You will not claim it, but you will be it. Those who are, don’t claim. Those who are not — only they claim.

Source – Osho Book “Come Follow To You, Vol 1”

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