Charles Bukowski is one of those poets who writes poems and does not talk to the readers directly. He does not care about the structure, rhyme, or metaphors in the poem. ‘Writing’ is a poem in which the poet is telling us about the importance of writing.
The poet says that writing is not just merely jotting down words and sentences, but it is something far superior than that, it is something extremely fulfilling.
The poet is written in a very different structure with no no letter capitalized and line breaks appearing randomly.
Let’s take a look at the poem first and then at the meaning and analysis.
Writing by Charles Bukowski
often it is the only thing between you and impossibility. no drink, no woman's love, no wealth can match it. nothing can save you except writing. it keeps the walls from failing. the hordes from closing in. it blasts the darkness. writing is the ultimate psychiatrist, the kindliest god of all the gods. writing stalks death. it knows no quit. and writing laughs at itself, at pain. it is the last expectation, the last explanation. that's what it is. from blank gun silencer - 1991
Meaning and Analysis of the Poem
Since the structure of this poem is so bizarre, it can be really hard for people to grasp the true meaning of the poem.
There are no defined stanzas, there is no proper separation of lines, and the themes are all mixed up. So let us divide the poem into different parts and take a look at those parts individually.
often it is the only
between you and
no woman’s love,
The poet is talking about how writing can be the only thing that can make something impossible possible. He is referring to expressing something that is impossible to express through writing.
No amount of drinking, bedding women, or money can give you the relief and happiness that writing can.
nothing can save
it keeps the walls
the hordes from
it blasts the
In the second stanza (for the analysis), the poet says that writing not only can give you a channel to express yourself, but also prevent you from having a mental breakdown.
It prevents the walls from falling refers to the loss of mental faculties, the loss of understanding and knowledge. Writing prevents the darkness from getting in your mind.
writing is the
god of all the
it knows no
After explaining how writing can be so beneficial for the health of the mind, the poet says that writing is the ultimate psychiatrist. Writing is the God who listens, making it the kindest God.
It even stalks death and does not know to quit. This line means that writing is not afraid of death for what is written remains forever, even after the mortal body is long gone.
it is the last
Writing is something that can make you smile at pain. It makes you realize how meager your suffering is, it helps you come to terms with your condition.
Finally, Bukowski ends the poem by saying that it is the last thing you expect, and it is the last explanation for everything, making writing as the only thing that makes sense in this world.
The Essence and Theme of the Poem
The poem is about the power and importance of writing. It brings writing to a completely new light. From helping you to express to giving everything sense, writing is the ultimate weapon, it is the ultimate truth.
The poem also goes to show what writing meant for Charles Bukowski. It was his passion, and he did not consider it as a profession. Writing was his life, and everything in between. It is worth noting that Bukowski had a difficult life. It was riddled with failure and heartbreaks.
Bukowski found peace in writing and expressing himself through words, something that many of us do. This is also the reason why this poem connects with so many people. It makes them feel better.