Saturday, 16 May 2009

Pia Tafdrup: Over the Water I Walk - 7


In absorption things change. Most often it is a slow process, in which only small details alter. At other times there is an overwhelming vitality, and suddenly something shockingly new and unexpected is on the paper, something that now and then anticipates what I will develop years later.


What forms the beginning of a poem often ends up being deleted, either because the poem grows, and overshadows the beginning, or because the starting-point is possibly too private. Only when whatever it was that gave rise to the poem has been crossed out does something that is worthwhile begin.


The process of the poem belongs to the moments when I think: that is why I am alive... On the other hand I also know the dread of beginning, because there are periods of writing when I must enter places that are full of dread.


The poem is brought into the world and is thereafter, in principle, accessible an infinite number of times, while I become aware of my own mortality, but also of the fact that with each poem I am left with a remnant, that after the poem I am also confronted with something that could not be written into it. The poem stands there shining, and every time I will be whirled into places from which I must drag myself, empty and exhausted, back to the same darkness, the same inarticulate sphere. Once the poem begins, there is only one thing for it: to give up everything else and hurl oneself into what is taking place, without compromise. A process has begun. It can go only one way, and that is forward. Neither life nor poem nor society permit any slowing down.


It is essential to be able to endure prolonged uncertainty and doubt, as a poem will never allow itself to be forced.


Creation is not the possession of all the wisdom in the world, but the ability to be constantly born. 'I am not yet born, but bearing am redeemed,' Sophus Claussen says.

translated from Danish by David McDuff

Over the Water I Walk-1
Over the Water I Walk-2
Over the Water I Walk-3
Over the Water I Walk-4
Over the Water I Walk-5
Over the Water I Walk-6

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