To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. No to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in posterity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.
Czeslaw Milosz was born in Lithuania in 1911. His books of poetry in English include The Collected Poems, 1931-1987, Unattainable Earth, The Separate Notebooks, Provinces, Bells in Winter, and Selected Poems, all published by The Ecco, Press. He is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980.
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About the Author
Czeslaw Milosz was born in Szetejnie, Lithuania, in 1911. He worked with the Polish resistance movement in Warsaw during World War II and was later stationed in Paris and Washington, D.C., as a Polish cultural attaché. He defected to France in 1951, and in 1960 he accepted a position at the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, and was a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He died in 2004.
Read an Excerpt
Burning, he walks in the stream of flickering letters, clarinets,
machines throbbing quicker than the heart, lopped-off heads, silk
canvases, and he stops under the sky
and raises toward it his joined clenched fists.
Believers fall on their bellies, they suppose it is a monstrance that
but those are knuckles, sharp knuckles shine that way, my friends.
He cuts the glowing, yellow buildings in two, breaks the walls into
pensive, he looks at the honey seeping from those huge
throbs of pianos, children's cries, the thud of a head banging against
This is the only landscape able to make him feel.
He wonders at his brother's skull shaped like an egg,
every day he shoves back his black hair from his brow,
then one day he plants a big load of dynamite
and is surprised that afterward everything spouts up in the
Agape, he observes the clouds and what is hanging in them:
globes, penal codes, dead cats floating on their backs, locomotives.
They turn in the skeins of white clouds like trash in a puddle.
While below on the earth a banner, the color of a romantic rose,
and a long row of military trains crawls on the weed-covered