Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Joy of Writing













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 supplyof 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.

By Wislawa Szymborska
From "No End of Fun", 1967
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

10 Comments:

Blogger Heather Harper said...

Nice poem, Betty. Thank you for sharing. :)

12:15 PM CDT  
Blogger Bonnie Ferguson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:45 AM CDT  
Blogger Bonnie Ferguson said...

Cool poem, Betty :)

6:46 AM CDT  
Blogger Debbie Behrens said...

Very nice, Betty. You have such a wonderful way with words!

1:27 PM CDT  
Blogger Rayke said...

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?


That line alone makes me wish that I could be a fiction writer.

3:12 PM CDT  
Blogger Sara said...

In the real world my power is limited, laughable, but in the worlds I create I have the final say. I can make Betty the queen of poetry and Heather the Urban Fantasy master. And the girl who told me I was a bad Brownie for not wearing my uniform on meeting day (okay, 2nd grade was a few years ago ... I should let it go now) will be the drudge who runs all of the queen's errands.

Oh, and I can give Betty a big corner office with windows and a separate seating area for conferences and a cute little kitchenette. Want a private bathroom, Betty? It's yours.

11:57 PM CDT  
Blogger Betty S said...

As much as I would love to claim credit for this wonderful piece of writing, the poem was written by Wislawa Szymborska.

Interesting isn't it.

Rayke, why can't you be a fiction writer? I read your driver's license in the CD player piece and it was wonderful. Just write like you talk, it's awesome.

Sara, I love your world. Yes. Please. I want that office. Of course in my alternate reality, I'm Queen of All There Is. It is a position which I always have to defend against my daughter.

8:51 AM CDT  
Blogger Rayke said...

Alright. I just posted an edit that will guarantee my next post will be some sort of fiction. So now I can't blog again until I do it.

1:42 PM CDT  
Blogger X. Dell said...

This reminds me of Rinda's tshirt that reads something like: "You look like a good secondary character."

Isn't that the real joy of writing fiction? The allure of a natural habitat that dances at the writer's command. That is the good life.

12:59 AM CDT  
Blogger Betty S said...

I agree. Rinda has the best T-shirts.

5:06 PM CDT  

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