One More Contradiction
Did I fulfill what I had to, here, on earth?
I was a guest in a house under white clouds
Where rivers flow and grasses renew themselves.
So what if I were called, if I was hardly aware.
The next time early I would search for wisdom.
I would not pretend I could be just like others:
Only evil and suffering come from that.
Renouncing, I would choose the fate of obedience.
I would suppress my wolf's eye and greedy throat.
A resident of some cloister floating in the air
With a view on the cities glowing below,
Or onto a stream, a bridge and old cedars,
I would give myself to one task only
Which then, however, could not be accomplished.
New and Collected Poems
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980, Czeslaw Milosz was born in 1911 in Lithuania where his parents had moved to escape the political upheaval in their native Poland — the poet later left Poland himself due to the Communist regime that swept to power following WW2. He eventually settled in the United States in 1960 and became an American citizen in 1970. For decades he taught at the University of California Berkeley. His books of poetry, prose and historical importance took awhile to be known in the US, but now they are more than secure.