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And Yet The Books

 And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are, ” they said, even as their pages Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame Licked away their letters.
So much more durable Than we are, whose frail warmth Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more: Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant, Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born, Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

by Czeslaw Milosz
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