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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Czeslaw Milosz
Czeslaw Milosz
Czeslaw Milosz was born to Weronika and Aleksander Milosz on June 30,...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Historical Events
Cashel Man
by Sean Frederick Forbes
Daytime Begins with a Line by Anna Akhmatova
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Indian Stream Republic
by Stephen Burt
Longing to Commodious
by Rob Halpern
Matriot Acts, Act I [History of Mankind]
by Anne Waldman
Occasioned by General Washington's Arrival in Philadelphia, On His Way to His Residence in Virginia
by Philip Freneau
Oklahoma City: The Aftermath
by Ira Sadoff
On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art
by Frank O'Hara
On the Day of Nixon's Funeral
by Ira Sadoff
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Rouen, Place de la Pucelle
by Maria White Lowell
Shirt
by Robert Pinsky
Singer
by Valzhyna Mort
Suicide of a Moderate Dictator
by Elizabeth Bishop
The Present Crisis
by James Russell Lowell
Wave
by David Keplinger
William Dawes
by Eileen Myles
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Artificer

 
by Czeslaw Milosz

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
   shines,

but those are knuckles, sharp knuckles shine that way, my friends.

He cuts the glowing, yellow buildings in two, breaks the walls into
   motley halves;
pensive, he looks at the honey seeping from those huge honeycombs:
throbs of pianos, children's cries, the thud of a head banging against
   the floor.
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 explosion.
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,
   flutters,
and a long row of military trains crawls on the weed-covered tracks.
Wilno, 1931







From New and Collected Poems 1931-2001 by Czeslaw Milosz. Copyright © 2002 by Czeslaw Milosz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
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