A Song On the End of the World

Czeslaw Milosz

Translated by Anthony Milosz
 

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

 
Copyright © 2006 The Czeslaw Milosz Estate.

Poems by This Author

And the City Stood in its Brightness by Czeslaw Milosz
Ars Poetica? by Czeslaw Milosz
Artificer by Czeslaw Milosz
Burning, he walks in the stream of flickering letters, clarinets,
Magpiety by Czeslaw Milosz


Further Reading

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