Saturday, January 04, 2014

Poem to Start the New Year

On my "someday-maybe" list is to read a book of poetry by Czeslaw Milosz. I only heard of him a few years ago, but what I've heard makes me want to know more.

Found this poem today and thought how, even though the middle lines might be different for each of us and would be for me, we can probably all "amen" the first line. And be grateful that the last lines are also true. (Unless we've really, really been stupid and gotten famous for it somehow.)

He wrote this the same year he won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Here's to wise choices in the New Year!


The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes.

Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness,
Like the flight of a moth which, had it known,
Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle’s flame.

Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety,
The little whisper which, though it is a warning, is ignored.

I would deal separately with satisfaction and pride,
The time when I was among their adherents
Who strut victoriously, unsuspecting.

But all of them would have one subject, desire,
If only my own—but no, not at all; alas,
I was driven because I wanted to be like others.
I was afraid of what was wild and indecent in me.

The history of my stupidity will not be written.
For one thing, it’s late. And the truth is laborious.


Lucy said...

Oh I do like that. I think I'd like to embroider a sampler or something with that first line.

Happy New Year Sheila!

Sheila said...

I bet someone could make money by selling them. Or making a tee shirt.