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You Whose Name -- Czeslaw Milosz

Guest poem sent in by Dominik Rabiej
(Poem #1229) You Whose Name
 You whose name is aggressor and devourer.
 Putrid and sultry, in fermentation.
 You mash into pulp sages and prophets,
 Criminals and heroes, indifferently.
 My vocativus is useless.
 You do not hear me, though I address you,
 Yet I want to speak, for I am against you.
 So what if you gulp me, I am not yours.
 You overcome me with exhaustion and fever.
 You blur my thought, which protests,
 You roll over me, dull unconscious power.
 The one who will overcome you is swift, armed:
 Mind, spirit, maker, renewer.
 He jousts with you in depths and on high,
 Equestrian, winged, lofty, silver-scaled.
 I have served him in the investiture of forms.
 It's not my concern what he will do with me.

 A retinue advances in the sunlight by the lakes.
 From white villages Easter bells resound.
-- Czeslaw Milosz
Note: Milosz won the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature

As the Easter season approaches and Lent draws to a close, I find this poem
particularly moving, especially in the light of recent world events
regarding tyranny and its fall.  No matter how oppressed a people are, the
"dull unconscious power" of hatred can never crush the mind and spirit of
human.  C. Milosz knows this first-hand.  He worked with the Polish
Resistance movement in Warsaw during World War II before defecting to France
in 1951 and finally the United States in 1960.

Dominik R. Rabiej
MIT 2005 VI-3 & XV-OR

  Biography from the Nobel Foundation site:

  The Academy of American Poets Milosz page:
    [broken link]

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