The Comox Valley Arts Council has a Poet Laureate program – the first poet laureate was the very entertaining Kevin Flesher who just handed off his “boot” to the talented Natalie Nickerson. At a recent poetry reading, Natalie mentioned how poetry is vital to making us feel things more deeply.
The following poem is by Wisława Szymborska, a Polish poet who won a Nobel Prize in Literature. Since I started painting I’ve been creating “inner landscapes” which this poem also clearly describes. Here is an inner utopia full certainties, which we can only visit as we have no choice but to exist within the ongoing mysteries of life. Enjoy.
Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.
The only roads are those that offer access.
Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.
The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.
The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.
On the right a cave where Meaning lies.
On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.
Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.
For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.
As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.
Into unfathomable life.
Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012)
The term utopia was coined from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The word comes from Greek: οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and means “no-place”, and strictly describes any non-existent society ‘described in considerable detail’. (google)
Image above: Journeys III, 8″ x 10″, acrylic on wood