Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The One with The Joy of Writing by Wislawa Szymborska




The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence - this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word "woods."

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they'll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what's here isn't life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.
First of all, I hate having to go beyond the delightful allegory found here. The "written doe" in the "written woods" is too much for my girly fancy.

But 'tis due to the two last stanzas that I am forced to do so: 

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.

What she is referring to by this is the power one has over the world one creates. Authors are like gods in the worlds they write about, and if the worlds they write about already have their particular gods, well then, the gods are nothing but translations of their conscience.

Wislawa Szymborska, therefore, thinks that this is "The Joy of Writing", this awe at the power of one's pen.

But she states it simply.

Because a doe and a wood and a hunter are commonday things. But what if one were to write about intergalactic space traveling, or about someone who changed history forever, or the king and queen of a palace next to an enchanted forrest?

This power to create, and the knowledge that a whole world is your world, well, that must be amazing.

And, honestly, I think no one can feel this more than J.K. Rowling. Look at what she made.

Thanks for reading,
Anne

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