Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)

The Rising Of The Sun - Poem by Czeslaw Milosz

I did not expect to live in such an unusual moment.
When the God of thunders and of rocky heights,
The Lord of hosts, Kyrios Sabaoth,
Would humble people to the quick,
Allowing them to act whatever way they wished,
Leaving to them conclusions, saying nothing.
It was a spectacle that was indeed unlike
The agelong cycle of royal tragedies.
Roads on concrete pillars, cities of glass and cast iron,
Airfields larger than tribal dominions
Suddenly ran short of their essence and disintegrated
Not in a dream but really, for, subtracted from themselves,
They could only hold on as do things which should not last.
Out of trees, field stones, even lemons on the table,
Materiality escaped and their spectrum
Proved to be a void, a haze on a film.
Dispossessed of its objects, space was swarming.
Everywhere was nowhere and nowhere, everywhere.
Letters in books turned silver-pale, wobbled, and faded
The hand was not able to trace the palm sign, the river sign, or the sign of ibis.
A hullabaloo of many tongues proclaimed the mortality of the language.
A complaint was forbidden as it complained to itself.
People, afflicted with an incomprehensible distress,
Were throwing off their clothes on the piazzas so that nakedness might call
For judgment.
But in vain they were longing after horror, pity, and anger.
Neither work nor leisure
Was justified,
Nor the face, nor the hair nor the loins
Nor any existence


Comments about The Rising Of The Sun by Czeslaw Milosz

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (3/14/2016 4:41:00 PM)

    Materiality escaped and their spectrum
    Proved to be a void, a haze on a film.
    Dispossessed of its objects, space was swarming.
    Everywhere was nowhere and nowhere, everywhere.- - - - - - -impressive lines (Report) Reply

    7 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Moira Cameron Moira Cameron (3/14/2016 1:28:00 PM)

    I can't say I understand all the references and imagery, but after reading this a few times, and reading Milosz's biography, I can get an idea of the chaos he is describing, of a culture or society disintegrating. I really like the line A hullabaloo of many tongues proclaimed the mortality of the language. That really got me. Powerful. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (3/14/2016 6:39:00 AM)

    Nor any existence; to face the ways of nature. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (3/14/2016 4:13:00 AM)

    A great poem penned by a master spirit that has witnessed so many horrifying things. (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 23, 2012



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