My Lord, What is Poetic License?
“There is no authority who gives a license to a poet. These are words from the realm of literature. The poet assumes his own freedom, which is allowed to him by the fundamental concept of poetry. He is free to depart from the reality; fly away from grammar; walk in glory by not following the systematic metres; coin words at his own will; use archaic words to convey thoughts or attribute meanings; hide ideas beyond myths which can be absolutely unrealistic; totally pave a path where neither rhyme nor rhythm prevail; can put serious ideas in satires, ifferisms, notorious repartees; take aid of analogies, metaphors, similes in his own style, compare “life with sandwiches that is consumed everyday” or “life is like peeling of an onion”, or “society is like a stew”; define ideas that can balloon into the sky never to come down; cause violence to logic at his own fancy; escape to the sphere of figurative truism; get engrossed in “universal eye for resemblance”, and one can do nothing except writing a critical appreciation in his own manner and according to his understanding. When the poet says “I saw eternity yesterday night”, no reader would understand the term ‘eternity’ in its prosaic sense. The Hamletian question has many a layer; each is free to confer a meaning; be it traditional or modern or individualistic. No one can stop a dramatist or a poet or a writer to write freely expressing his thoughts and similarly none can stop the critics to give their comments whatever its worth. One may concentrate on classical facets and one may think at a metaphysical level or concentrate on romanticism as is understood in the poems of Keats, Byron or Shelley or one may dwell on the nature and write poems like William Wordsworth whose poems, say some, are as didactic. One may also venture to compose like Alexander Pope or Dryden or get into individual modernism like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot or Pablo Neruda. That is fundamentally what is meant by poetic license.”
– Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra, D.R. Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra, [Criminal Appeal No. 1179 of 2010].
Once or twice upon a time
While expounding on a crime,
A Judge said with a frown:
“Sure it is uneasy to wear this crown!
Will you not remember me when this is done?
When I am retired and having no fun.
Will you find my old little words?
Quote them like rich lawyer-nerds!
I cannot trust you, be you ever so high.
I am a Judge, ain’t I supposed to make you cry?
Read, Read for now.. I shall say a lot.
Evidence of my battle fought.
The only way I shall make you learn,
I tried a lot when it was my turn.