Friday, March 11, 2011

Dead Apocalyptic Poets: Czeslaw Milosz

Given that he was living just outside of Warsaw when he wrote this piece, I think it is fair to say that Czeslaw Milosz came by his future-cynicism honestly.  He has a collected work at amazon which I did buy, but this poem is not in it.  A lot of poems are.  But not this one.

The Piece reminds me in its tenor of Archibald Mcleash's The End of the World, that we featured earlier.
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.
Warsaw, 1944
Copyright 1996 by Czeslaw Milosz
Translation: Anthony Milosz

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