Friday, September 12, 2008

And Yet the Books by Czeslaw Milosz

I love this one by Milosz...



And Yet The Books

And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are, ” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.




Czeslaw Milosz was born on June 30, 1911, in Szetejnie, Lithuania (then under the domination of the Russian tsarist government). He spent most of World War II in Nazi-occupied Warsaw working for underground presses. In 1980, Milosz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in August of 2004.

13 Comments:

Blogger Ginger said...

this man truly loved words. i can't even imagine what it must've been like to live like that and to work in an underground press to preserve such wonderful things as books....to preserve someone's freedom of thought by being able to read a book.

It reminds me of 1984..."if there is hope [wrote winston] it lies in the proles."

12:31 AM  
Blogger Scheyenne Zigzag said...

fantastic poem.
P.S. I have a book too.

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Blogger KAREN said...

This is a very fine blog! I have read downward, some of the entries, but not all. I'll be back.

I put a quote and a reference to this site on my own blog: http://reflexiones4-karen.blogspot.com/
Congratulations.
Karen

3:59 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Excellent! Thanks for sharing this poem.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous DaileyInk said...

I read this poem at my bookgroup recently; it was our last meeting after 12 years of getting together monthly. I thought the poem captured the true nature of books and what they mean in our lives. Loved this poem

9:22 AM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Oh yes. This one is good. Something worthy enough to frame for your library wall.

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