by Czesław Miłosz
Translated by Czesław Miłosz
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
Czeslaw Milosz, who died in Krakow at the age of 93 in 2004, gave us a deep poetry of remembrance. He had a grave, open-eyed lucidity about the 20th century. I first felt from his work the nobility and grandeur of poetry, yet one also learned from him to distrust rhetoric, to question false words and sentiments.
He reminds us how difficult it is to remain just one person. He believed in our common humanity and beauty of the world around him despite the horrors he witnessed. I love his poetry most of all for its radiant moments of wonder and being, and also because of its tenderness and acceptance of life without malice just as in this one.