Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)

Winter


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
the world.


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.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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