Czeslaw Milosz

(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004 / Kedainiai)

Quotations

  • ''Grow your tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth.
    Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality.
    Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself,
    So the weary travelers may find repose.''
    Czeslaw Milosz (b. 1911), Lithuanian-born Polish poet. Child of Europe, sect. 4, Selected Poems (1973).
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  • ''The redwood forest, the remains of a virgin sequoia forest. The interiors of certain Gothic cathedrals—Strasbourg, for example—replicate man's smallness and helplessness in his middle zone between hell and heaven, amid the columns of the primeval forests which still covered large areas of Europe when the cathe drals were built. But Europe never had trees like the redwoods, whose life span number over two thousand years. This forest is the idea of forest, a prototype drawn by God; no church columns attain that height, and never does a church's semi-darkness contrast so sharply with a ray slanting in from above the reach of sight.''
    Czeslaw Milosz (b. 1911), Lithuanian-born Polish poet. "Symbolic Mountains and Forests," Visions from San Francisco Bay, Farrar Straus (1982).

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Conversation with Jeanne

Let us not talk philosophy, drop it, Jeanne.
So many words, so much paper, who can stand it.
I told you the truth about my distancing myself.
I've stopped worrying about my misshapen life.
It was no better and no worse than the usual human tragedies.

For over thirty years we have been waging our dispute
As we do now, on the island under the skies of the tropics.
We flee a downpour, in an instant the bright sun again,

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