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Czeslaw Milosz (1911 – 2004)

Polish poet and essayist, awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980.
Czeslaw Milosz
Never has there been a close study of how necessary to a man are the experiences which we clumsily call aesthetic. Such experiences are associated with works of art for only an insignificant number of individuals. The majority find pleasure of an aesthetic nature in the mere fact of their existence within the stream of life. In the cities, the eye meets colorful store displays, the diversity of human types. Looking at passers-by, one can guess from their faces the story of their lives. This movement of the imagination when a man is walking through a crowd has an erotic tinge; his emotions are very close to physiological sensations.
Milosz quotes
Those dying here, the lonely
Forgotten by the world,
Our tongue becomes for them
The language of an ancient planet.
Until, when all is legend
And many years have passed,
On a great Campo di Fiori
Rage will kindle at a poet's word.
When I curse Fate, it's not me, but the earth in me.

Milosz Czeslaw quotes
All my life to pretend this world of theirs is mine
And to know such pretending is disgraceful.
But what can I do? Suppose I suddenly screamed
And started to prophesy. No one would hear me.
Their screens and microphones are not for that.
Milosz Czeslaw
Only when two times, two forms are drawn
Together and their legibility
Disturbed, do you see that immortality
Is not very different from the present
And is for its sake. You pick a fragment
Of grenade which pierced the body of a song
On Daphnis and Chloe.
Czeslaw Milosz quotes
We were permitted to shriek in the tongue of dwarfs and demons
But pure and generous words were forbidden
Under so stiff a penalty that whoever dared to pronounce one
Considered himself as a lost man.
Czeslaw Milosz
I liked beaches, swimming pools, and clinics
for there they were the bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.
I pitied them and myself, but this will not protect me.
The word and the thought are over.
Milosz Czeslaw quotes
Leaves glowing in the sun, zealous hum of bumblebees,
From afar, from somewhere beyond the river, echoes of lingering voices
And the unhurried sounds of a hammer gave joy not only to me.
Before the five senses were opened, and earlier than any beginning
They waited, ready, for all those who would call themselves mortals,
So that they might praise, as I do, life, that is, happiness.
I have known many Christians Poles, Frenchman, Spaniards who were strict Stalinists in the field of politics but who retained certain inner reservations, believing God would make corrections once the bloody sentences of the all-mighties of History were carried out. They pushed their reasoning rather far. They argue that history develops according to immutable laws that exist by the will of God; one of these laws is the class struggle; the twentieth century marks the victory of the proletariat, which is led in its struggle by the Communist Party; Stalin, the leader of the Communist Party, fulfills the law of history or in other words acts by the will of God, therefore one must obey him. Mankind can be renewed only on the Russian pattern; that is why no Christian can oppose the one cruel, it is true idea which will create a new kind of man over the entire planet. Such reasoning is often used by clerics who are party tools. "Christ is a new man. The new man is a Soviet man. Therefore Christ is a Soviet man!" said Justinian Marina, the Rumanian patriarch.
Milosz Czeslaw
And space, what it is like? Is it mechanical,
Newtonian? A frozen prison?
Or the lofty space of Einstein, the relation
Between movement and movement? No reason to pretend
I know. I don't know, and if I did,
Still my imagination is a thousand years old.
Czeslaw Milosz
It is impossible to communicate to people who have not experienced it the undefinable menace of total rationalism.

Czeslaw Milosz quotes
Consciousness even in my sleep changes primary colors.
The features of my face melt like a wax doll in the fire.
And who can consent to see in the mirror the mere face of man?
Czeslaw Milosz
Masculinity and femininity, elapsed, met in him
And every shame, every grief, every love.
If ever we accede to enlightenment,
He thought, it is in one compassionate moment
When what separated them from me vanishes
And a shower of drops from a bunch of lilacs
Pours on my face, and hers, and his, at the same time.
Milosz quotes
How can I live in this country
Where the foot knocks against
The unburied bones of kin?
I hear voices, see smiles. I cannot
Write anything; five hands
Seize my pen and order me to write
The story of their lives and deaths.
Was I born to become
a ritual mourner?
I want to sing of festivities,
The greenwood into which Shakespeare
Often took me. Leave
To poets a moment of happiness,
Otherwise your world will perish.
Milosz Czeslaw
For a country without a past is nothing, a word
That, hardly spoken, loses its meaning,
A perishable wall destroyed by flame,
An echo of animal emotions.
Milosz Czeslaw quotes
The masses in highly industrialized countries like England, the United States, or France are largely de-Christianized. Technology, and the way of life it produces, undermines Christianity far more effectively than do violent measures.
Czeslaw Milosz
Our memory is childish and it saves only what we need.
Czeslaw Milosz quotes
Grow your tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth.
Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality.
Czeslaw Milosz
Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.
Milosz Czeslaw
Earth, what have I to do with thee?
With your meadows where dumb beasts
Grazed before the deluge without lifting their heads?
What have I to do with your implacable births?
So why this gracious melancholia?
Is it because anger is no use?

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