With billions of galaxies, stars, among planets and celestial void, what is the meaning of human life ?
In my poem I wanted to talk about the creation of meaning during war that is to say during the worst adversity.
My poem, « I made up God » is influenced by the French existentialism philosophical movement that has shaped a lot the intellectual history of my country. According to its tenant, like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, man can and should create himself. Life is by no way predefined. We are not set arrays of adjectives like an origin, a skin color, a social background. We have the possibility to build our own values, and by an extent our own lives, of course within the possibilities and restrictions that are imposed to us like health, politics, poverty… But within these restrictions, we should consider that we are rather free. But what is the problem and how is it related to this year s thematic? Firstly, tthis freedom of creating ourselves can become anguish if we do not act.
That is why I present you with this narrative poem influenced by existentialism and also by the Bible that I write upon but taking an opposite point of view. Instead of writing about the world being created by God in 7 days, I invented a character left lonely and depressed by the war, who decides to rebuild the world himself in 7 days. Why would he do such an absurd action made possible by the fantastic, absurd angle I am taking ? This desesperate and grandiose attempt is in fact the choice my character takes.
Doing this, he non solely becomes a man despite his loss (he loses his parents and his loved one during the war) but he also proves being human, helping in the end his fellow compatriots with gifting them hope and poetry.
I wanted to show that in dire, worse situations, action and imagination are still able to help us grow as humans and overcome the sense of void.
In my poem set just after a war, the character feels a deep sense of loss and inutility, of void, at first. It is only with helping others, creating a new world that he becomes powerful, I would say like a God, which is only a metaphor of the infinite possibility of creativity of the humane existence.
The poem is not set in any location but I was thinking about Bangladesh, a country I am trying to learn the language since 15 years, Bengali. That is why the poem is about rivers, roof terraces. But I wanted it to apply to more universal situations, where creativity, art and poetry can help us overcome mountains.
Of course, death and void can hinder us from being happy and leading meaningful lives. But the void inside us, that is brought by loss of lost ones can be opposed to memory, creation and beauty. It might not revive the person we loved, but it can give hope and a sense of beauty and humanity to others. I strongly believe that poetry is not only about beauty and sharing our own sense of void.
I am a great admirer of Bangladeshi poet Sukanta Bhattacharyya who fought and dies at a very young age for his ideal of freedom. His poems reflects on what it takes to be brave in a sometimes cruel world, what it takes to write and create beauty when we suffer. For instance in his poem He Mahajibon, he writes about the end of poetry because the world is too cruel there is a dreadful famine, and thus how can we imagine ever needing poetry again ? But in the last line, he writes so poetically about hunger and the moon, that the whole poem takes a very different meaning suddenly and this very lines contradicts what he just said with contempt, about not needing poetry.
In my poem I made up God, I wanted poetry to convey both beauty and existentialist meaning. I have read Russian narrative poems recently and I wanted to merge the story of a man, at the verge of plunging into the void or depression because of death and war, to the poetry and hope of attempting to create a new world despite it might sound foolish. But how is my charachter’s story a possible answer to the void ? Is he taking himself to God ? Well it is the critic I seem to make, in the title and in the structure of the poem because it takes him 7 days to shape a world, which seems a too grandiose project, isn’t it?
But in this fantastic, mystical creation, which often refers also to the celestial void another definition more concrete of the void, the character non solely creates a world, but metaphorically he becomes the world, he fights to become someone as he becomes a poet and gives thereafter beauty to the war survivors.
Like in Sukanta Bhattacharyya, the last verses contradict my critic to the blasphemy of wanting to create like God.
No, creativity is not narcissism nor that it means taking oneself for God. Creativity gives meaning to our lives. It is the humane answer to void and death as we must reinvent ourselves and shape the world like a poem. To conclude, I strongly believe we should attempt to live our lives like a line of poetry. As for poetry, it can also be seen in this poem as a metaphor broadly speaking, for art, and beauty to oppose to the void we sometimes feel. Thank you.