Sixteenth Thursday Literary Lines

Tagged as Milosz, Poetry

Written on 2007-09-06 17:00:16

This is the last scheduled post I'm going to write. After this, it's back to the good old days. Everything will be "Just For Fun" and I'll post what I like when I like. It's been a good experiment in generating content these past 2^4 weeks but this is the end of it. Though I do expect to have some very nerdy stuff up by Saturday. :-)
No promises.

That said, I'm ending with a bang. This untitled piece from Unattainable Earth touches on many of the frequent themes of the master poet Milosz. I hope you enjoy it:

Rustling taffetas. At sunset in a park by the Prypet River.
The party sets out for a walk on a path lined with flowers.
The fragrance of nicotianas, phlox, and resedas.
Great silence, the empty expanse of rising waters.
Meanwhile the servants bring in lamps, set the table for supper.
And the dining room windows lit the agaves on the lawn.

Lela, Marishka, Sophineta! Lenia, Stenia, Isia, Lilka!
Is it fair that I will never talk with you
In a language not disguised by etiquette
As less than language and reduced to table chatter
But austere and precise like a thought
That attempts to embrace the poor lives of beings?

I walk about. No longer human. In a hunting outfit.
Visiting our thick forests and the houses and manors.
Cold borscht is served and I am abstracted
With disturbing questions from the end of my century.
Mainly regarding the truth, where does it come from, where is it?
Mum, I was eating chicken with cucumber salad.

My pretty ones, abducted, beyond will and guilt.
My awareness harrows me as well as my silence.
All my life I gathered images and ideas,
I learned how to travel through lost territories,
But the moment between birth and disappearance
Is too much, I know, for the meager word.

Strings of wild ducks fly over the Respublica's waters.
Dew falls on Polish manners imported from Warsaw and Vienna.
I cross the river in a dugout to the village side.
Barking dogs greet me there and the bell of an Orthodox church.

What would I like to tell you? That I didn't get what I looked for:
To gather all of us naked on the earthly pastures
Under the endless light of suspended time
Without that form which confines me as it once confined you.

Seeing the future. A diviner. In a soft merciful night.
When pigweed grows on the paths of a cut-down garden
And a narrow gold chain on a white neck,
Together with the memory of all of you, perishes.
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