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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Another Poem by Czeslaw Milosz

Preparation (1986)

Still one more year of preparation.
Tomorrow at the latest I’ll start working on a great book
In which my century will appear as it really was.
The sun will rise over the righteous and the wicked.
Springs and autumns will unerringly return,
In a wet thicket a thrush will build his nest lined with clay
And foxes will learn their foxy natures.

And that will be the subject, with addenda. Thus: armies
Running across frozen plains, shouting a curse
In a many-voiced chorus; the cannon of a tank
Growing immense at the corner of a street; the ride at dusk
Into a camp with watchtowers and barbed wire.

No, it won’t happen tomorrow. In five or ten years.
I still think too much about the mothers
And ask what is man born of woman.
He curls himself up and protects his head
While he is kicked by heavy boots; on fire and running,
He burns with bright flame; a bulldozer sweeps him into a clay pit.
Her child. Embracing a teddy bear. Conceived in ecstasy.

I haven’t learned yet to speak as I should, calmly.

2 Responses to “Another Poem by Czeslaw Milosz”

  1. Pearl says:

    A well-wrought poem. Thanks for posting it.

    jb says: I couldn’t not’ve. (well, teachers were hard on me).

  2. No poet can raise the hair on the back of my neck quite like
    Milosz. Oh, that final line.

    jb says: The hair on the back of our necks was certainly put there for that very purpose.