Home > poets > Babel (from ‘The Wall & Beyond’ by Joanna Kurowska)

Babel (from ‘The Wall & Beyond’ by Joanna Kurowska)

I’ve built a skyscraper
a thousand skyscrapers
to escape the blue butterfly
the shape of his wings is too simple
and I’m afraid of secret words
far below the little butterfly has stayed
he flies over a brook over a flower
christ is waving his little blue wings
he won’t fly up here—he won’t

The writer builds a skyscraper – a thousand skyscrapers – to escape the blue butterfly. Why build a skyscraper? And why the fuss about a butterfly?

Thanks to the title ‘Babel’, I suspect there to be a relation between skyscrapers and the tower of Babel; the familiar symbol for the bewildering multitude of languages circulating around the world. A multitude that is confusing at times. But also comforting. Because it keeps the butterfly at bay.

Writers with a metaphysical temperament feel the urge to grasp the world as it is in itself. We are all related to that world, and to some that is downright fascinating. But also haunting, even frightening. Because however hard we try, that world eludes our grasp, like a butterfly fluttering around that refuses our mind the time and peace we need to understand. Nevertheless, we suspect that world to be utterly simple.

Paradoxically, language enables and disables our grasp of the world in itself. It’s like it builds a wall that sometimes we want to look beyond (remind the title of the collection), though at other times it feels comfortable to rest between its confines: ‘he won’t fly up here – he won’t’.

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Categories: poets
  1. October 20, 2014 at 23:02

    I’m glad that the interpretation makes sense to you!

    Like

  1. October 20, 2014 at 22:17

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