Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Joy of Writing

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of poetry, with the exception of some American and British poets of the Romantic period; I just finished reading a book of Polish poetry which tested my stamina to the limits! The pieces made no sense to me or were extremely dark and pessimistic. Many demonstrate the effects of Communism on Poland as they laud atheism, yet condemn many of the other beliefs of communism and Leninism. I hope that the poetry in Polish comes across better...and maybe that was my problem.
I did enjoy one of the poems. It talks of the power that comes to a writer in the art of writing. Here it is:

"The Joy of Writing" by Wislawa Szymborska
Where is this word "doe" running?
Does she want to drink from the written water,
that like carbon paper reflects her mouth?
Why is she lifting her head? Does she hear anything?
Poised on four delicate legs borrowed from the truth
she pricks up her ears under my fingers.
Silence--this word also rustles on paper
and parts the branches
evoked by the word "forest."

Above the blank paper letters coil to jump
they may arrange themselves wrong,
attacking sentences
from which there is no escape.

In a drop of ink there are many hunters
squinting their eyes,
ready to rush down the steep pen,
and surround the doe, in position to fire.

They forget that this is not life.
Separate, black on white, rules govern here.
The wink of an eye lasts as long as I wish,
it may be divided into small eternities.
Full of buckshot caught in flight.
If I insist, nothing will happen here forever.
Against my will no leaf will fall nor blade of grass
bend under the dot of a hoof.

So is there such a world
I rule with impunity?
Or time I bind with chains of letters?
Or an existence, if I command it, never ending?

The joy of writing.
The ability to converse.
The revenge of a mortal hand.

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