Half a Century of Poetry is a volume of works by Dandelion, his memoirs. It was originally intended to be called "Fifty years of poetry" but Regis managed to convince the bard to change the title to a more "poetic" one.
To say I knew her would be an exaggeration. I think that, apart from the Witcher and the enchantress, no one really knew her. When I saw her for the first time she did not make a great impression on me at all, even in spite of the quite extraordinary accompanying circumstances. I have known people who said that, right away, from the very first encounter, they sensed the foretaste of death striding behind the girl. To me she seemed utterly ordinary, though I knew that ordinary she was not; for which reason I tried to discern, discover–sense–the singularity in her. But I noticed nothing and sensed nothing. Nothing that could have been a signal, a presentiment or a harbinger of those subsequent, tragic events. Events caused by her very existence. And those she caused by her actions.
I have met many military men in my life. I have known marshals, generals, commanders and governors, the victors of numerous campaigns and battles. I've listened to their stories and recollections. I've seen them poring over maps, drawing lines of various colors on them, making plans, thinking up strategies. In those paper wars everything worked, everything functioned, everything was clear and everything was in exemplary order. That's how it has to be, explained the military men. The army represents discipline and order above all. The army cannot exist without discipline and order.
So it is all the stranger that real wars–and I have seen several real wars–have as much in common with discipline and order as a whorehouse with a fire raging through it.
I have often been asked what made me decide to write my memoirs. Many people seemed interested in the moment my memoirs began, namely what fact, event or incident gave rise to the writing. Formerly, I gave various explanations and often lied, but now, howbeit, I pay homage to the truth. For today, now that my hair has thinned and is going white, I know the truth is a precious seed, while a lie is but contemptible chaff.
And the truth is thus: the event which gave rise to everything, to which I owe the first notes, from which my subsequent life's work was formed, was the accidental discovery of paper and pencil among the things that my company and I stole from the Lyrian military convoys. It happened...