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A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is. When I speak of writing, the image that comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or a literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and, alone, turns inward. Amid his shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man-or this woman-may use a typewriter, or profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I do. As he writes, he may drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time, he may rise from his table to look out the window at the children playing in the street, or, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or even at a black wall. He may write poems, or plays, or novels, as I do. But all these differences arise only after the crucial task is complete-after he has sat down at the table and patiently turned inward. To write is to transform that inward gaze into words, to study the worlds into which we pass when we retire into ourselves, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy.
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
And you’d have done better with a winter
A rope, and a branch bowed beneath your