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Nonadaptation -- Czeslaw Milosz

Guest poem submitted by Sarah Korah :
(Poem #1731) Nonadaptation
 I was not made to live anywhere except in Paradise.

 Such, simply, was my genetic inadaptation.

 Here on earth every prick of a rose-thorn changed into a wound.
 whenever the sun hid behind a cloud, I grieved.

 I pretended to work like others from morning to evening,
 but I was absent, dedicated to invisible countries.

 For solace I escaped to city parks, there to observe
 and faithfully describe flowers and trees, but they changed,
 under my hand, into the gardens of Paradise.

 I have not loved a woman with my five senses.
 I only wanted from her my sister, from before the banishment.

 And I respected religion, for on this earth of pain
 it was a funereal and a propitiatory song.
-- Czeslaw Milosz
As a statement of intent, and as a memorable first line, Milosz makes things
very clear by saying "I was not made to live anywhere except in Paradise".
Yet in typical Milosz style, what follows is NOT a funny, escapist take on
life. Instead we're treated to 13 lines of intelligent, memorable poetry.

It amuses me that whenever I quote from this poem, I tend to choose the
light hearted lines ("I pretended to work like others from morning to
evening, but I was absent, dedicated to invisible countries.").. and people
naturally assume that it's from a funny poem. Talk of taking a quote out of
context !

Czeslaw Milosz's bio, and more of his poems, can be found on minstrels at
  http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1599.html

Sarah Korah.

44 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

rebeccathomas said...

Thank you Sarah for sending this poem in. Milosz has put into words what
most of us feel. RT

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