I am trying to focus on the idea of simplicity this week, because so many of my favorite writers write simply, from Kurt Vonnegut, jr. to Ernest Hemingway (I know, the cliched lot), but other authors I like do, too, including Chuck Palahniuk and J.K. Rowling and Christopher Moore and Douglas Adams…and a lot of others.
It is also important that I focus on simplicity this week because writing simply is not easy, and it is not something somebody does willy-nilly either. It takes a long time to learn this, I assure you. To write simply is to write concisely and that is a skill you must develop over time. I never seem to write as simply as I want because I spend more time trying to write quickly—but I am working on it (always), as you should, too.
Today, we are going to look at a poem by James Joyce that discusses a different kind of “simple,” and how he thinks about it in the context of nature and on a particular moonlit eve.
“Simples” by James Joyce
O bella, bionda
Sei come l’onda
Of cool sweet dew and radiance mild
The moon a web of silence weaves
In the still garden where a child
Gathers the simple salad leaves.
A moondew stars her hanging hair
And moonlight kisses her young brow
And, gathering, she sings an air:
Fair as the wave is, fair, art thou!
Be mine, I pray, a waxen ear
To shield me from her childish croon
And mine a shielded heart for her
Who gathers simples of the moon.
Joyce, James. “Simples by James Joyce | Tutto Sciolto by James… | Poetry Magazine.” Poetry Magazine, 12 Sept. 2021, poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=13689.