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A Poem For the End of the Century

Written by: Czeslaw Milosz | Biography
 When everything was fine
And the notion of sin had vanished
And the earth was ready
In universal peace
To consume and rejoice
Without creeds and utopias,

I, for unknown reasons,
Surrounded by the books
Of prophets and theologians,
Of philosophers, poets,
Searched for an answer,
Scowling, grimacing,
Waking up at night, muttering at dawn.
What oppressed me so much Was a bit shameful.
Talking of it aloud Would show neither tact nor prudence.
It might even seem an outrage Against the health of mankind.
Alas, my memory Does not want to leave me And in it, live beings Each with its own pain, Each with its own dying, Its own trepidation.
Why then innocence On paradisal beaches, An impeccable sky Over the church of hygiene? Is it because that Was long ago? To a saintly man --So goes an Arab tale-- God said somewhat maliciously: "Had I revealed to people How great a sinner you are, They could not praise you.
" "And I," answered the pious one, "Had I unveiled to them How merciful you are, They would not care for you.
" To whom should I turn With that affair so dark Of pain and also guilt In the structure of the world, If either here below Or over there on high No power can abolish The cause and the effect? Don't think, don't remember The death on the cross, Though everyday He dies, The only one, all-loving, Who without any need Consented and allowed To exist all that is, Including nails of torture.
Totally enigmatic.
Impossibly intricate.
Better to stop speech here.
This language is not for people.
Blessed be jubilation.
Vintages and harvests.
Even if not everyone Is granted serenity.



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