"I speak to you with silence like a cloud or tree"

I read this poem on an acquaintance's tumble blog, and I found its beautiful images and urgency quite striking. I need to check out a book of his poetry.


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.

– Czeslaw Milosz

Poetry Friday roundup at Wild Rose Reader.


Thomas Weeks 9/07/2008 6:38 PM  

that was quite striking.

Sarah Louise 9/08/2008 8:42 PM  

oh, i adore Czeslaw! And very excited that you're reading Blink. I heart Malcolm Gladwell.

odessa 9/08/2008 11:00 PM  

love this. especially the line you quoted.

Beth Kephart 9/09/2008 12:52 AM  

I have a good friend who could use this poem right now.

So I am sending it to him.

Thank you.


Erin 9/23/2008 9:42 PM  


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