Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What governs your writing

Rob is posing this question over on his blog. This is how he puts it.

"What poem, or lines from a poem, governs ('informs' might be a better word) what you write?

What I mean is – if you were asked to quote from a poem (or from a piece of prose) to express what writing poetry means to you, or what you wanted to achieve by writing, what lines would you choose?"

I'd choose these lines by Cavafy from Ithaca, which I've posted before.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithaca means.

I'd choose these words because post cancer I think I'm starting to grasp what life is all about, that it is finite and precious and more importantly that you are where you are, and much of that has to do with the choices you have made along the way. And I'm interested in writing about the notion of time, and about loss, and about being at ease in your own skin.


Blogger Colin Will said...

Juliana read Ithaca at last week's Dunbar Writers meeting. I discovered Cavafy's poetry through reading Durrell's Alexandra Quartet many years ago. Luminous, sensual, dramatic... all of these.

Must tell you too that I got a copy of Roger Deakin's Wildwood today. Lovely writing.

7:38 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

I heard it read on the radio and thought it was anamazing poem.

Glad you like Roger Deakin, his attention to detail is quite amazing, almost autistic at times.

10:47 pm  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home