Polish Poet of the Day: Wisława Szymborska
A winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1996) Szymborska's poetry captivates the hearts of Poles, or quite frankly any person who reads her work. It was in my Polish Literature class at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan that I was first introduced to her work. As a child her family moved to Krakow, where she still lives today (according to my literature professor she lives near my dorm.) She studied in Krakow at Jagiellonian University (where I study), focusing on Polish language and literature. She engaged in the local writing scene in the city where she was introduced and later influenced by Czesław Miłosz. (another praised and talented Polish writer) Szymborska's poem's focuses on individuals as well their role in society. Her work has been translated into most European languages. I encourage you to read her work.
The Joy of Writing
Where through the written forest runs that written doe?
Is it to drink from the written water,
which will copy her gentle mouth like a carbon paper?
Why does she raise her head, is it something she hears?
Poised on four fragile legs borrowed from truth
she pricks up her ears under my fingers.
Stillness -- this world also rustles across the paper
and parts the branches brought forth by the word "forest."
Above the blank page lurking, set to spring
are letters that may compose themselves all wrong,
from which there is no rescue.
In a drop of ink there's a goodly reserve
of huntsmen with eyes squinting to take aim,
ready to dash down the steep pen,
surround the doe and level their guns.
They forget that this is not real life.
Other law, black on white, here hold sway.
The twinkling of an eye will last as long as I wish,
will consent to be divided into small eternities
full of bullets stopped in flight.
Forever, if I command it, nothing will happen here.
Against my will no leaf will fall
nor blade of grass bend under the full stop of a hoof.
Is there than such a world
over which I rule sole ad absolute?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence perpetuated at my command?
The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
The revenge of a mortal hand.