Review: Selected Poems by Czesław Miłosz

Selected PoemsSelected Poems by Czesław Miłosz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Love is sand swallowed by parched lips. (Hymn, p. 35)

So I thought of you today and decided to write about Czeslaw Milosz. I thought of suffering, of pains in the gait, things of that nature. Then I thought of you working and suffering, working and suffering a little helplessly, feeling yourself watching yourself through the wide window beside your desk.

… children in half-sleep run their hands across the wall
and draw lands with a finger wet with saliva… (Hymn, p. 36)

I thought of historical trajectories. Wars. That real suffering you said people endured. You said this while sleeping and I drew a bird on the wall beside us and asked you to tell me what happened again.

A hand with cards drops down
on the hot sand. (Outskirts, 55)

So it’s settled I guess. All of it buried in the hot sand. But I can’t help but think that a flash of light is still a flash of light. People breath in the light and settle themselves in the rubbish. They take their coarse phases and smooth them out at night. They bite out the dirt that’s under their fingernails. They don’t apologize. Why should they? Because when a poem is written in Warsaw, you know that you don’t know. You know not to ask. And you also know to keep reading it.

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