Where the Sun Rises and Where it Sets
Once, when returning from far Transylvania
Through mountain forests, rocks, and Carpathian ridges,
Halting by a ford at the close of day
(My companions had sent me ahead to look
For passage), I let my horse graze
And out of the saddlebag took the Holy Scripture;
The light was so gracious, murmur of streams so sweet,
That reading Paul's epistles, and seeing the first star,
I was soon lulled into a profound sleep.
A young man in ornate Greek raiment
Touched my arm and I heard his voice:
'Your time, O mortals, hastens by like water,
I have descended and known its absyss.
It was I, whom cruel Paul chastised in Corinth
For having stolen my father's wife,
And by his order I was to be excluded
From the table at which we shared our meals.
Since then I have not been in gatherings of the saints,
And for many years I was led by the sinful love
Of a poor plaything given to temptation,
And so we doomed ourselves to eternal ruin.
But my Lord and my God, whom I knew not,
Tore me from the ashes with his lightning,
In his eyes your truths count for nothing,
His mercy saves all living flesh.'
Awake under a huge starry sky,
Having received help unhoped for,
Absolved of care about our platry life,
I wiped my eyes wet with tears.
No, I have never been to Transylvania.
I have never brought messages from there to my church.
But I could have.
This is an exercise in style.
The pluperfect tense
Of countries imperfective.
Czeslaw Milosz's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Where the Sun Rises and Where it Sets by Czeslaw Milosz )
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
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