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Best Famous Czeslaw Milosz Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Czeslaw Milosz poems. This is a select list of the best famous Czeslaw Milosz poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Czeslaw Milosz poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Czeslaw Milosz poems.

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Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

A Hall

 The road led straight to the temple.
Notre Dame, though not Gothic at all.
The huge doors were closed.
I chose one on the side, Not to the main building-to its left wing, The one in green copper, worn into gaps below.
I pushed.
Then it was revealed: An astonishing large hall, in warm light.
Great statues of sitting women-goddesses, In draped robes, marked it with a rhythm.
Color embraced me like the interior of a purple-brown flower Of unheard-of size.
I walked, liberated From worries, pangs of conscience, and fears.
I knew I was there as one day I would be.
I woke up serene, thinking that this dream Answers my question, often asked: How is it when one passes the last threshold?

Written 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, thought 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.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |


 Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books, No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language, And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are, Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master, Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun, Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth, The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.

More great poems below...

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Ars Poetica?

 I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.
In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent: a thing is brought forth which we didn't know we had in us, so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out and stood in the light, lashing his tail.
That's why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion, though its an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel.
It's hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from, when so often they're put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.
What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons, who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues, and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand, work at changing his destiny for their convenience? It's true that what is morbid is highly valued today, and so you may think that I am only joking or that I've devised just one more means of praising Art with thehelp of irony.
There was a time when only wise books were read helping us to bear our pain and misery.
This, after all, is not quite the same as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.
And yet the world is different from what it seems to be and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings.
People therefore preserve silent integrity thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.
The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.
What I'm saying here is not, I agree, poetry, as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly, under unbearable duress and only with the hope that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

What Does It Mean

 It does not know it glitters
It does not know it flies
It does not know it is this not that.
And, more and more often, agape, With my Gauloise dying out, Over a glass of red wine, I muse on the meaning of being this not that.
Just as long ago, when I was twenty, But then there was a hope I would be everything, Perhaps even a butterfly or a thrush, by magic.
Now I see dusty district roads And a town where the postmaster gets drunk every day Melancholy with remaining identical to himself.
If only the stars contained me.
If only everything kept happening in such a way That the so-called world opposed the so-called flesh.
Were I at least not contradictory.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Song on the End of the World

 On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A Fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea, By the rainspout young sparrows are playing And the snake is gold-skinned as it it should always be.
On the day the world ends Women walk through fields under their umbrellas A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn, Vegetable peddlers shout in the street And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island, The voice of a violin lasts in the air And leads into a starry night.
And those who expected lightning and thunder Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above, As long as the bumblebee visits a rose As long as rosy infants are born No one believes it is happening now.
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet, Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy, Repeats while he binds his tomatoes: No other end of the world there will be, No other end of the world there will be.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |


 The same and not quite the same, I walked through oak forests
Amazed that my Muse, Mnemosyne,
Has in no way diminished my amazement.
A magpie was screeching and I said: Magpiety? What is magpiety? I shall never achieve A magpie heart, a hairy nostril over the beak, a flight That always renews just when coming down, And so I shall never comprehend magpiety.
If however magpiety does not exist My nature does not exist either.
Who would have guessed that, centuries later, I would invent the question of universals?

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Unde Malum

 Where does evil come from?
It comes
from man
always from man
only from man
- Tadeusz Rozewicz
Alas, dear Tadeusz,
good nature and wicked man
are romantic inventions
you show us this way
the depth of your optimism
so let man exterminate
his own species
the innocent sunrise will illuminate
a liberated flora and fauna
where oak forests reclaim
the postindustrial wasteland
and the blood of a deer
torn asunder by a pack of wolves
is not seen by anyone
a hawk falls upon a hare
without witness
evil disappears from the world
and consciousness with it
Of course, dear Tadeusz,
evil (and good) comes from man.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |


 You whom I could not save
Listen to me.
Try to understand this simple speech as I would be ashamed of another.
I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words.
I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree.
What strengthened me, for you was lethal.
You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one, Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty, Blind force with accomplished shape.
Here is the valley of shallow Polish rivers.
And an immense bridge Going into white fog.
Here is a broken city, And the wind throws the screams of gulls on your grave When I am talking with you.
What is poetry which does not save Nations or people? A connivance with official lies, A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment, Readings for sophomore girls.
That I wanted good poetry without knowing it, That I discovered, late, its salutary aim, In this and only this I find salvation.
They used to pour millet on graves or poppy seeds To feed the dead who would come disguised as birds.
I put this book here for you, who once lived So that you should visit us no more.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Conversation with Jeanne

 Let us not talk philosophy, drop it, Jeanne.
So many words, so much paper, who can stand it.
I told you the truth about my distancing myself.
I've stopped worrying about my misshapen life.
It was no better and no worse than the usual human tragedies.
For over thirty years we have been waging our dispute As we do now, on the island under the skies of the tropics.
We flee a downpour, in an instant the bright sun again, And I grow dumb, dazzled by the emerald essence of the leaves.
We submerge in foam at the line of the surf, We swim far, to where the horizon is a tangle of banana bush, With little windmills of palms.
And I am under accusation: That I am not up to my oeuvre, That I do not demand enough from myself, As I could have learned from Karl Jaspers, That my scorn for the opinions of this age grows slack.
I roll on a wave and look at white clouds.
You are right, Jeanne, I don't know how to care about the salvation of my soul.
Some are called, others manage as well as they can.
I accept it, what has befallen me is just.
I don't pretend to the dignity of a wise old age.
Untranslatable into words, I chose my home in what is now, In things of this world, which exist and, for that reason, delight us: Nakedness of women on the beach, coppery cones of their breasts, Hibiscus, alamanda, a red lily, devouring With my eyes, lips, tongue, the guava juice, the juice of la prune de Cyth?re, Rum with ice and syrup, lianas-orchids In a rain forest, where trees stand on the stilts of their roots.
Death, you say, mine and yours, closer and closer, We suffered and this poor earth was not enough.
The purple-black earth of vegetable gardens Will be here, either looked at or not.
The sea, as today, will breathe from its depths.
Growing small, I disappear in the immense, more and more free.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Study Of Loneliness

 A guardian of long-distance conduits in the desert?
A one-man crew of a fortress in the sand?
Whoever he was.
At dawn he saw furrowed mountains The color of ashes, above the melting darkness, Saturated with violet, breaking into fluid rouge, Till they stood, immense, in the orange light.
Day after day.
And, before he noticed, year after year.
For whom, he thought, that splendor? For me alone? Yet it will be here long after I perish.
What is it in the eye of a lizard? Or when seen by a migrant bird? If I am all mankind, are they themselves without me? And he knew there was no use crying out, for none of them would save him.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Father Explains

 "There where that ray touches the plain
And the shadows escape as if they really ran,
Warsaw stands, open from all sides,
A city not very old but quite famous.
"Farther, where strings of rain hang from a little cloud, Under the hills with an acacia grove Is Prague.
Above it, a marvelous castle Shored against a slope in accordance with old rules.
"What divides this land with white foam Is the Alps.
The black means fir forests.
Beyond them, bathing in the yellow sun Italy lies, like a deep-blue dish.
"Among the many fine cities that are there You will recogni2e Rome, Christendom's capital, By those round roofs on the church Called the Basilica of Saint Peter.
"And there, to the north, beyond a bay, Where a level bluish mist moves in waves, Paris tries to keep pace with its tower And reins in its herd of bridges.
"Also other cities accompany Paris, They are adorned with glass, arrayed in iron, But for today that would be too much, I'll tell the rest another time

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |


 Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart, Without knowing it, from various ills— A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves: Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |


 When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up, What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
- And if there is no lining to the world? If a thrush on a branch is not a sign, But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day Make no sense following each other? And on this earth there is nothing except this earth? - Even if that is so, there will remain A word wakened by lips that perish, A tireless messenger who runs and runs Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies, And calls out, protests, screams.

Written by Czeslaw Milosz |

Late Ripeness

 Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.
One after another my former lives were departing, like ships, together with their sorrow.
And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas assigned to my brush came closer, ready now to be described better than they were before.
I was not separated from people, grief and pity joined us.
We forget - I kept saying - that we are all children of the King.
For where we come from there is no division into Yes and No, into is, was, and will be.
We were miserable, we used no more than a hundredth part of the gift we received for our long journey.
Moments from yesterday and from centuries ago - a sword blow, the painting of eyelashes before a mirror of polished metal, a lethal musket shot, a caravel staving its hull against a reef - they dwell in us, waiting for a fulfillment.
I knew, always, that I would be a worker in the vineyard, as are all men and women living at the same time, whether they are aware of it or not.