“I barely dare to tell you, my friend,
how much and during how many of my days I loath her,
poetry, that I hate her with all my heart and soul.
And that, if by any chance I love her: merely by mistake.”
Luuk Gruwez, To a Colleague I (translation from Dutch)
How on earth can you love someone by mistake? I just can’t imagine me or anyone else saying about my love for poetry: “Well, obviously, you shouldn’t have done that, should you.” Ok, now I see it written down like that I have to admit that that’s not entirely true. Writing poetry is something you always do against all odds. Simply because you can’t bare the thought that this is it. Well, simply. You can’t believe that you should stick to what you know, just because it’s for the better.
Are poets easily fooled souls then who do believe that everything we don’t know yet is always better? Or do we rather believe that there is something better, but we haven’t discovered it yet? Just imagine yourself being a poet having discovered, well, just that. One day it’s all there. Written down, neatly put into words. Full stop (of course) and that’s that. For the rest of your life.
I can already hear myself saying “Is it, really?” only a few days after my worldshaking discovery. And even before my famous words hit the printing press I’m already working on a new poem. Because there has to be more, hasn’t it? Being a God in the deepest of your thoughts is quite annoying. Not because you can and will always know better than anybody else, but because you don’t want to know. It’s like you should stop breathing the moment you’ve figured out how your respiratory system works.
And why should there always be more? Who told you that? What’s wrong with less? Or what’s wrong with what is? All this beauty, all this monstrosity, even a poet – no definitely a poet – will need more than a lifetime to put this into words. Wanna bet?
“Poets don’t take bets. Certainly not about futilities” you mumble. No, they won’t, I guess. Put they don’t play safe either. And “loving, merely by mistake” has to be the clumsiest way ever uttered to deny that. It’s only slightly better than saying “well, if we’re sure of one thing, it’s that we can’t be sure of anything.”
Circles are no use to mankind. A poet of all people should know that. Man is born first and then die. Linea. We can argue about the recta. But it are those particular ruptures which make our life valuable. Circumventions are the cheapest way to fool finity. A deceit to last forever. Almost a crime, really, an act of forgery.
Poets hate it when their words are twisted or used to disguise a different truth than the one they were intended to hide. Still, the phrase “anything you say can be used against you” doesn’t work for a poet. Poetic freedom has no boundaries. It allows them to explore them. That’s a world apart. It’s a right not granted just to fool people around, to keep them walking in circles.
Still I admire the courage of this poet. First he goes at great lengths to deny his love for his poetry only to be exposed in the end. But then his confession doesn’t bring you closer to the truth you were looking for. Loving, merely by mistake? Is this ridiculously pathetic? Or unknown modesty? Who will put an end to this charade?
Who will have the final word?
Exactly. Merely by mistake, of course. Or what did you expect?
If I didn’t know better, I’d say it’s magic.