Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)

Account - Poem by Czeslaw Milosz

The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes.

Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness,
Like the flight of a moth which, had it known,
Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle's flame.

Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety,
The little whisper which, though it is a warning, is ignored.

I would deal separately with satisfaction and pride,
The time when I was among their adherents
Who strut victoriously, unsuspecting.

But all of them would have one subject, desire,
If only my own -- but no, not at all; alas,
I was driven because I wanted to be like others.
I was afraid of what was wild and indecent in me.

The history of my stupidity will not be written.
For one thing, it's late. And the truth is laborious.


Berkeley, 1980.


Trans. Robert Hass and Robert Pinsky

Form: Epigram


Comments about Account by Czeslaw Milosz

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (10/14/2017 7:55:00 PM)


    Beautifully crafted poem. Well translated. Extraordinary poet. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Susan Williams (10/14/2017 6:10:00 PM)


    Massive talent, bold and searching himself for the truth of his importance and very existence. I believe the translators must have made an extraordinary effort to bring us his words. Excellent poet. (Report) Reply

  • (10/14/2017 2:27:00 PM)


    meri bavkoofi ki history se
    bady granth likhay ja saktay hain

    kuch hongay mere moorakh pan ke
    jasiay bhonray ko agar pata hai
    k jal jayay ga shama ke sholay main
    phir bhi wo uski taraf urta jaata hai

    kuch hongay chinta ko shanti danay ke baray
    hidayantay jinay main nay na sua

    -to be continued later if Allah allows
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/14/2017 1:44:00 PM)


    For one thing! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (10/14/2017 7:46:00 AM)


    What a great poem! I certainly can relate. And what a great encouragement to embrace who we are. For those of you who read this and like great poetry anthologies in English, see the one he edited with the title A Book of Luminous Things. -GK (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/14/2017 5:32:00 AM)


    Such a great poem penned by Czeslaw Milosz..... (Report) Reply

  • Nudershada Cabanes (10/14/2017 3:56:00 AM)


    Sometimes we act in haste without thinking when our enotion gets the better of us. (Report) Reply

  • (10/14/2017 2:50:00 AM)


    Temperate musings about volatile emotions; calm and persuasive. (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



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Read poems about / on: history, warning, pride, silence, truth, time



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, March 21, 2005


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