Girding for the wilderness of the blank page

possession.jpgIn lieu of the ‘oblogatory’ recounting of New Year’s Resolutions, I present on this first post of 2008 a writerly invocation of the Muse. This comes from A.S. Byatt’s Possession,which won the Booker Prize in 1990. This may sound a trifle over the top now, but that’s OK. Writing means different things to different people; most agree it ain’t Tiddlywinks.

Use at your own risk.

Shall I presume to tell the Fairy’s tale?
Meddle with doom and magic in my song
Or venture out into the shadowland
Beyond the safe and solid? Shall I dare?
Help me Mnemosyne, thou Titaness,
Thou ancient one, daughter of Heaven and Earth,
Mother of Muses, who inhabit not
In flowery mount or crystal spring, but in
The dark and confin’d cavern of the skull –
O Memory, who holds the thread that links
My modern mind to those of ancient days
To the dark dreaming Origins of our race,
When visible and invisible alike
Lay quietly, O thou, the source of speech
Give me wise utterance and safe conduct
From hearthside storytelling into dark
Of outer air, and back again to sleep,
In Christian comfort, in a decent bed.

496_dance_of_the_muses.jpg

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