A Poem for a Thursday #7

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash


Czeslaw Milosz was a Polish poet who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1980. He wrote in Polish and then he and others translated his poetry into English. He "wrote of the past in a tragic, ironic style that nonetheless affirmed the value of human life." His poem "And yet the books" will appeal to any book lover.

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.

And yet the books
Czeslaw Milosz

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