When many of us take a stroll down the rows of the Hogwarts library, we’re frantically looking for that one book that we need for our assignment. However if you ever choose to enter the depths of the library, you’ll find collections of words in fantastical arrangements that take you to a place much more real than the need for homework. That’s right, today we’ll be discussing the poetry community in the Wizarding World or more specifically, Hogwarts.
For years, poetry has been a Muggle coined activity. Works by those such as Shakespare and Rumi have dominated history depriving Wizards of their chance in the poetic spotlight. As a Wizard and a poet, I find that a lot of the times if I mention my dabbling in poetry, people are surprised or even shocked that Wizards even care about poetry. I mean, we have so many other wondrous things to study, why would we look at a few words? Well that’s what I’m here to answer.
If we take a step back, we can actually see that poetry has been a big part of Wizard society for centuries. Our first accounts of poetry flourishing in the Wizarding World is with Goblins. It’s funny, one wouldn’t think that Goblins would have a sweet tongue, but according to our history books, this is the origin of Wizarding poetry. Goblins wrote rhymes for hundreds of years, however poetry really started to evolve during the Goblin Rebellion of 1612. Goblins began to write poetry to express their frustration over what they considered to be oppression. These poems were usually non-sensical and long. Gibberish and almost-words took up much of their poems. It is believed that this was on purpose however, and that they used these conventions to express how they felt Wizards saw them.
Goblins continue to write poetry to this day. They use poems and riddles for safekeeping. One of the most famous Goblin poems sits engraved in Gringots The origin of this poem is unknown, though we suspect that this poem was written by the guards who kept Gringots safe at the time. The poem reads as follows:
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn,
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
Now, thats zoom out a little and look at poems that specifically derive from Hogwarts. There have been poems in Hogwarts that nearly every student has heard of. One of the most common poems is one by none other than Peeves. Peeves, as many students know, says his short quaint rhymes nearly everywhere he goes. Wether it be during the feast at the beginning of the year or in the middle of class, Peeves never hesitates to share his writing. One of Peeves’ most memorable poems is the one he came up with after the death of He-Who-Must-Not-Me-Named. The poem is as follows:
We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter’s the One,
And Voldy’s gone moldy, so now let’s have fun!
Now, let us briefly mention the poem of the Sphinx before we continue to our final poem. The poem of the Sphinx appeared first during the Triwizard Tournament of 1994. While Harry Potter himself worked his way through the maze, he encountered a sphinx. This sphinx made Harry answer a short riddle to advance. Try to solve the riddle if you can. Make sure to comment your answer to see if you would have beaten the Sphinx! The poem reads as follows:
First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what’s always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally give me the sound often heard
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?
Now we come to our final poem. It was rumored for years before his death that Professor Snape dabbled in the art of poetry. Wether it be love poems for Lily Potter or poems of hate about the Muraders, Snape would write his feelings in diaries and poems. One of Snape’s most famous poem is the one that was used to guard the Philosopher’s stone that Hermionie Granger cleverly solved. The poem reads as follows:
Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here for evermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onwards, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.
Well, I hope that you now understand how much of a role that poetry played in the history of Hogwarts. Next time you take a walk through the never-ending rows of books in the Hogwarts library, remember to pick up a book of poems and lose yourself in the words of Wizard poets.