Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)


Maidenly lake, fathomless lake,
Stay as you were once, overgrown with rushes,
Idling with a reflected cloud, for my sake
Whom your shore no longer touches.

Your girl was always real to me.
Her bones lie in a city by the sea.
Everything occurs too normally.
A unique love simply wears away.

Girl, hey, girl, we repose in an abyss.
The base of a skull, a rib, a pelvis,
Is it you? me? We are more than this.
No clock counts hours and years for us.

How could a creature, ephemeral, eternal,
Measure for me necessity and fate?
You are locked with me in a letter-crystal.
No matter that you're not a living maid.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003


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  • Rookie Marcy Jarvis (9/25/2005 4:04:00 AM)

    Back! Back! You have already voted that poem a 10! Oh well, it IS my favorite poem of all time, I think. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie David Perrings (3/31/2005 10:59:00 PM)

    Milosz's Lake Poem

    This poem was posted as the poem of the day.

    I will give a stab at what I think this poem is about.

    I think it is about a man reflecting on his dead girlfriend.

    'Maidenly lake, fathomless lake'

    standing by a lake staring into the water thinking and remembering. the unconscious.

    there is the lake itself-maiden lake
    and there is depth and the darkness-fathomless lake

    'stay as you were once, overgrown with rushes, '

    remembering her as she was alive.

    'Idling with a reflected cloud, for my sake'

    simply sees the reflection of a cloud in the water.

    'Whom your shore no longer touches.'

    she is no longer her to see the cloud.

    'your girl was always real to me'

    he remembers her as she was when she was alive.

    'Her bones lie in a city by the sea'

    while she has departed her remains are still left on the earth in the ground.

    'Everything occurs too normally'

    she died in the normal course of things

    'A unique love simply wears away'

    he let the relationship lag while she was still alive and now he regrets it.

    'Girl, hey, Girl, we repose in an abyss'

    calling out to her now across the divide between life and death.

    'How could a creature, ephemeral, eternal.'

    she is hear one day, and now she is hear for all eternity in his memory.

    'Measure for me necessity and fate? '

    He realizes that he needs her and that fate has intervened.

    'You are locked with me in a letter-crystal'

    her memory is locked in his mind possibly with the aid of a love letter that he still keeps.

    'No matter that you're not a living maid'

    His feelings for her are not dependent on her physical state of being.

    David Perrings from United States (Report) Reply

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