A task: from Milosz to me

This morning I read this poem. “A task” by Czelaw Milosz, chosen randomly from his collected  poems. It reminded me of the post I made on reading this poem initially in 2017.  It resonated again today amidst so much degraded public discourse.

I will add to this repost the closing paragraph of the other poem by Milosz that I read this morning – “My faithful mother tongue”:

Faithful mother tongue,
perhaps after all it’s I who must try to save you.
So I will continue to set before you little bowls of colors
bright and pure if possible,
for what is needed in misfortune is a little order and beauty.

Is the faithful mother tongue a language, culture, tradition, the unending words of the infinite conversation?

A task: from Milosz to me (originally posted 2017)

A short post.

The miracle of literature: how words crafted for another voice, at another time, pierce the carapace of habit, strike at deep wounds, and reveal a way of being.

From my reading last night:

The Task (Czeslaw Milosz)

In fear and trembling, I think I would fulfill my life

Only if I brought myself to make a public confession

Revealing a sham, my own and of my epoch:

We were permitted to shriek in the tongues of dwarfs and demons

But pure and generous words were forbidden

Under so stiff a penalty that whoever dared to pronounce one

Considered himself as a lost man.

Berkeley 1970

More Reflections on 2017 on the weekend…

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