Author Topic: A Conversation With Jeanne by Czeslaw Milosz  (Read 1605 times)

elena petelos

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A Conversation With Jeanne by Czeslaw Milosz
« on: 17 Dec, 2007, 19:32:31 »
A Conversation With Jeanne
By Czeslaw Milosz



Let us not talk philosophy, drop it, Jeanne.
So many words, so much paper, who can stand it.
I told you the truth about my distancing myself.
I've stopped worrying about my misshapen life.
It was no better and no worse than the usual human tragedies.

For over thirty years we have been waging our dispute
As we do now, on the island under the skies of the tropics.
We flee a downpour, in an instant the bright sun again,
And I grow dumb, dazzled by the emerald essence of the leaves.

We submerge in foam at the line of the surf,
We swim far, to where the horizon is a tangle of banana bush,
With little windmills of palms.
And I am under accusation: That I am not up to my oeuvre,
That I do not demand enough from myself,
As I could have learned from Karl Jaspers,
That my scorn for the opinions of this age grows slack.

I roll on a wave and look at white clouds.

You are right, Jeanne, I don't know how to care about the salvation of my soul.
Some are called, others manage as well as they can.
I accept it, what has befallen me is just.
I don't pretend to the dignity of a wise old age.
Untranslatable into words, I chose my home in what is now,
In things of this world, which exist and, for that reason, delight us:
Nakedness of women on the beach, coppery cones of their breasts,
Hibiscus, alamanda, a red lily, devouring
With my eyes, lips, tongue, the guava juice, the juice of la prune de Cythre,
Rum with ice and syrup, lianas-orchids
In a rain forest, where trees stand on the stilts of their roots.

Death, you say, mine and yours, closer and closer,
We suffered and this poor earth was not enough.
The purple-black earth of vegetable gardens
Will be here, either looked at or not.
The sea, as today, will breathe from its depths.
Growing small, I disappear in the immense, more and more free.

Guadeloupe


Frederique

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A Conversation With Jeanne by Czeslaw Milosz
« Reply #1 on: 22 May, 2011, 22:03:36 »
Czeslaw Milosz, Incantation | Translated By Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Pinsky

Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun,
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.

Berkeley, 1968



Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179570



Czesław Miłosz (June 30, 1911 – August 14, 2004) was a Polish poet, prose writer and translator of Lithuanian origin and subsequent American citizenship. His World War II-era sequence The World, is a collection of 20 "naive" poems. He defected to the West in 1951 and his non-fiction book The Captive Mind (1953) is one of the classics of anti-Stalinism. From 1961 to 1998 he was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.


Czesław Miłosz
Czesław Miłosz at the Miami Book Fair International of 1986

Poems published in Translatum:
« Last Edit: 22 May, 2011, 22:11:14 by Frederique »
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