The Joy of Writing – Wislawa Szymborska – Analysis

Here is a poem by the famous Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska. My comments after each stanza in italics. It does remind me of ‘The Thought Fox’ by Ted Hughes.

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.

The creative process in the mind of the writer is likened to a doe in the woods that comes for a drink … as though the mind has a thirst to be quenched … but why does this creative process occur … why does the mind do this forcing the fingertips into action …  and there is a period of silence, or if you like thinking that goes on … or rustles across the page … and what has sprouted are letters up to no good … a nice way of saying that there is a lot of work to do to make them good … and I do like the clutches of clauses so subordinate

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.

The pen becomes a gun that takes aim to produce a hit … the transformation from thought to actual words … a question for consideration is how to get a bullseye so to speak … to hit the target that the mind intended

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.

The writer is in total control and will determine what is being said and how it is being said. The writer will halt the process until he or she is ready … that last line holds the doe in mid-flight … but the doe might disappear completely if the wait is to long … those that get a thought in bed and fail to capitalise on their night wonders happening in the mind while in bed

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?

Responding to the endless existence of creativity where the writer rules … creativity becomes alive … bind with chains of signs … says something about the transformation to words

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

The power of the written word compared to the mortal hand … preserving … creating a legacy … the ‘I was here’ written in concrete … in books and letters … the immortality of Shakespeare

Wislawa Szymborska (1923 - 2012)
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Wislawa Szymborska on Wikipedia
The Thought Fox by Ted Hughes

Growing Poetry – Oranges and Lemons?


Growing the Poetry

1 Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clement’s

Poetry is a rather difficult fruit to grow.
First things first, you must be very mindful
of the nutrients needed for germination.
Then, of course, you have to wait.

It’s no good rushing into things. When
the ground breaks be prepared to spend
time nurturing. Pruning is often needed.
Letting light into the branches is essential
to ensure the whole tree benefits.

Eventually fruit will start to form.
It is up to you to taste first. Then you
might feel like sharing with a friend.

At harvest time you could market
hoping to find others who appreciate
what you have to offer. But beware
not everybody loves lemons!

1 When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

Richard Scutter

Footnote –

1 Traditional English Nursery Song

I think you allways need to be a little thick-skinned because whatever fruit you produce will not be to everybodies taste – that does not matter – oranges and lemons.