Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)

Woe!


It is true, our tribe is similar to the bees,
It gathers honey of wisdom, carries it, stores it in honeycombs.
I am able to roam for hours
Through the labyrinth of the main library, floor to floor.
But yesterday, looking for the words of masters and prophets,
I wandered into high regions
That are visited by practically no one.
I would open a book and could decipher nothing.
For letters faded and disappeared from the pages.
Woe! I exclaimed-so it comes to this?
Where are you, venerable ones, with your beards and wigs,
Your nights spent by a candle, griefs of your wives?
So a message saving the world is silenced forever?
At your home it was the day of making preserves.
And your dog, sleeping by the fire, would wake up,
Yawn, and look at you, as if knowing.

Submitted: Thursday, January 08, 2004

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