Czeslaw Milosz (30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)
The pungent smells of a California winter,
Grayness and rosiness, an almost transparent full moon.
I add logs to the fire, I drink and I ponder.
“In Ilawa,” the news item said, “at age 70
Died Aleksander Rymkiewicz, poet.”
He was the youngest in our group. I patronized him slightly,
Just as I patronized others for their inferior minds
Though they had many virtues I couldn’t touch.
And so I am here, approaching the end
Of the century and of my life. Proud of my strength
Yet embarrassed by the clearness of the view.
Avant-gardes mixed with blood.
The ashes of inconceivable arts.
An omnium-gatherum of chaos.
I passed judgment on that. Though marked myself.
This hasn’t been the age for the righteous and the decent.
I know what it means to beget monsters
And to recognize in them myself.
You, moon, You, Aleksander, fire of cedar logs.
Waters close over us, a name lasts but an instant.
Not important whether the generations hold us in memory.
Great was that chase with the hounds for the unattainable meaning of
And now I am ready to keep running
When the sun rises beyond the borderlands of death.
I already see mountain ridges in the heavenly forest
Where, beyond every essence, a new essence waits.
You, music of my late years, I am called
By a sound and a color which are more and more perfect.
Do not die out, fire. Enter my dreams, love.
Be young forever, seasons of the earth.
Comments about this poem (Winter by Czeslaw Milosz )
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