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View with a grain of sand

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Ticha Padgett

on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of View with a grain of sand

IOP on Wislawa Szymborska's Poetry
by Ticha Padgett-Stewart
Main themes
• Inclusive persona and perspective
• Lack of sense or informational input in inanimate objects
• Humans sense, constructs and inventions of human society
Inclusive persona/perspective
call it a grain of sand"
"is only
"But they're only three seconds for
"But that is just

The persona is including the reader, identifying themselves with the reader. The reader is obviously human, so the persona can be identified as human as well, and is talking about humanity when making generalizations about the 'we'. The reader is also included in all generalizations that the persona makes about the 'we', forcing introspection and thought.
Lack of sense
it calls itself neither
grain nor sand."
It doesn't feel
"is only our experience,
not its
"but the view
doesn't view
colorless, shapeless/ soundless, odorless and painless
"The lake's floor
exists floorlessly
"and its shore
exists shorelessly
feels itself neither wet nor dry
singular nor plural"
to their own noise"
large nor small"
"sky by nature
"the sun sets
without setting
at all"
without hiding

In the poem "view with a grain of sand" the atypical human use of sense is actually show to be in the minority
This in turn exemplifies how different versions realities are and how unnecessary and detrimental sensing can be. Also highlights how imprecise the set of human definitions for things are, as the things or objects do not define themselves as that or anything. This irony illuminates the subjectivity of truth.
Sense/human constructs
it a grain of sand"
, our
mean nothing"
"is only our
"The window has a wonderful
of the lake"
second passes
. / a
second second
. / a
. / But they are
three seconds
only for us"
the entire poem in general is also evidence of the human attempt to define through the senses, as words are ways to name, define and describe and are obviously what this poem was written in.

Exemplifies limits of human sense and perception, our sense of reality only applies to us ("three seconds only to us") how true could this reality be if it is so narrow. Human reality gets convoluted because our senses are so outward focused with no inward introspection.
View with a grain of sand
We call it a grain of sand,
but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
It does just fine without a name,
whether general, particular,
permanent, passing,
incorrect, or apt.

Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it.
It doesn't feel itself seen or touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill
is only our experience, not its
For it, it is no different from falling on anything else
with no assurance that it has finished falling
or that it is falling still.

The window has a wonderful view of the lake,
but the view doesn't view itself.
It exists in this world
colorless, shapeless
soundless, odorless, and painless.

The lake's floor exists floorlessly,
and its shore exists shorelessly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
and it's waves to themselves are neither singular or plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise
on pebbles neither large nor small.

And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
in which the sun sets without setting at all
and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
The wind ruffles it, its only reason being
that it blows.

A second passes.
A second second.
A third.
But they're three seconds only for us.

Time has passed like a courier with urgent news.
But that's just our simile.
The character is invented, his haste is make-believe,
his news inhuman.
"View with a grain of sand" by Wislawa Szymborska utilizes a motif of human 'experience' in contrast to inanimate object's 'being' through juxtaposing patterns of sense and lack of sense in conjunction with inclusive persona to illuminate the un-absolute way humans experience and draw meaning from the world.
Additional patterns
• Transcendentalism
 Evidence- “grain of sand” and “does just fine” (grain of sand, part of nature is superior to humans, doesn’t need human definitions, does just fine without human constructs) “lake” “lake’s floor” “shore” “water” “waves” “splash” “pebbles” “sky by nature skyless” “sun sets” “unminding cloud” “The wind ruffles” (additional nature imagery and showcases the amount of nature that does not depend on sense, exemplifies the isolation of human sense, how uncommon it is)
 Effect-transcendentalist belief, increases sense that nature, in all of its lack of sensory input and interpretation, is better than humans, human senses and interpretations of those sense made by humans

• Anthropomorphizing/ explaining inanimate objects through the lack of human characteristics
 Evidence- “we call it a grain of sand” (giving it a human characteristic, a name, a definition) “It does just fine without a name” (attributing an emotion to a thing that doesn’t feel, a feeling of being fine) “mean nothing to it” “It doesn’t feel” “no assurance that it has finished falling” “doesn’t view” “its water feels” “its waves to themselves” “slash deaf to their own noise” “hides without hiding” “it’s only reason” “time has passed like a courier with urgent news” “his news inhuman”
 Effect- Shows narrow human perception. Humans are unable to define anything that we cannot directly discern with our senses or conclude from our senses, so we must define things by human abilities they are unable to do, or comparing them to humans in order to be able to comprehend or understand them.

The BIG picture
• In the poem "View with a grain of sand" Humans experience the world through the inaccuracy of human senses, which allow us only to define things by those senses or lack of senses.
• Perspectives are anti-unanimous; each reality differs according to the person/object and their environment experiences etc. and therefore all perceptions of what truth is differ as well (transcendental philosophy vs. human centered viewpoint).
• In conclusion, Szymborska asks the larger question, because of the inaccuracy of human senses and the lack of consensus on which and whose ideal of truth or perspective is correct, is one larger truth the best? Are all perspectives correct or incorrect? Does a larger truth, reality, morality, even exist?

Thank You!
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