Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Czeslaw Milosz and Solidarity

The following is extracted from an article by Peter Dale Scott in Brick Magazine (number 78):

The prequel is a quotation from Adam Michnik:

I remember that when I once was arrested the police found a box of treatises by Milosz in my apartment. And during the interrogation the officer was saying, ‘Mr Michnik, do you believe that with the help of this little poetry you are going to win against Communism?’

And we won.

And the following is from the body of Peter Dale Scott’s article. He quotes some lines from a poem that Czeslaw Milosz wrote in 1950. The poem, You Who Wronged, was a warning to ephemeral dictators in all lands and in all times:

You who wronged a simple man
Bursting into laughter at the crime, . . .

Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
You can kill one, but another is born.
The words are written down, the dead, the
date.

And you’d have done better with a winter
dawn,

A rope, and a branch bowed beneath your
weight.

2 Responses to “Czeslaw Milosz and Solidarity”

  1. Pearl says:

    Powerful warning. It’s not enough to fear people who have literacy because that isn’t enough to oppose. People with literature can re-ignite what was almost lost.

    jb says: Hi Pearl. Milosz had courage as well, of course.

  2. Robert says:

    Modern Polish poets seem largely synonymous with courage, it seems. Thanks for this.

    jb says: Hi Robert. Thanks for the comment. A courage born of necessity, perhaps?