Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)

At A Certain Age - Poem by Czeslaw Milosz

We wanted to confess our sins but there were no takers.
White clouds refused to accept them, and the wind
Was too busy visiting sea after sea.
We did not succeed in interesting the animals.
Dogs, disappointed, expected an order,
A cat, as always immoral, was falling asleep.
A person seemingly very close
Did not care to hear of things long past.
Conversations with friends over vodka or coffee
Ought not be prolonged beyond the first sign of boredom.
It would be humiliating to pay by the hour
A man with a diploma, just for listening.
Churches. Perhaps churches. But to confess there what?
That we used to see ourselves as handsome and noble
Yet later in our place an ugly toad
Half-opens its thick eyelid
And one sees clearly: "That's me."


Comments about At A Certain Age by Czeslaw Milosz

  • (4/24/2018 3:41:00 PM)


    This specific poem was written with either a tragic or ironic writing style. please leave a comment of what you think it is. (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • (3/19/2018 3:58:00 PM)


    This defines life, especially as a young teen. No one will listen, and then... Viola! you have turned into a lazy toad. (Report) Reply

    (4/14/2018 6:15:00 PM)

    He fought in WWII and experiened many horrible things, but he was a successful writer and poet. Did he not look back at his past with admiration and pride? At a Certain Age is definetely a poem I and many others can connect to personlly, and I am not even that old!

    (4/14/2018 6:14:00 PM)

    Czeslaw Milosz truly understands looking back and realizing that you have been seeing yourself as “Handsome and Noble” and realizing a lazy toad has been their all along. This reminds me of a quote from one of his earlier poems: “Do not gaze into the pools of the past. Their corroded surface will mirror A face different from the one you expected.” I am surprised to find that he wrote lines like these with a past like his.

  • (6/20/2013 9:59:00 PM)


    And the ugly toad turns into the prince. Humor is the best weapon against growing old. It was wonderful that he had it and could look at himself with recognition .. and surprise! (Report) Reply

  • (8/9/2012 6:02:00 PM)


    The frog prince turns into the toad. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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