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This poem is taken from PN Review 9, Volume 6 Number 1, September - October 1979.

Two Poems Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz, one of Poland's most distinguished poets and men of letters, was born in Lithuania in 1911 and now lives in the United States. He has recently been awarded the 1978 Neustadt International Prize (sponsored by the Oklahoma-based quarterly of international literature World Literature Today). Previous Neustadt Laureates have been Ungaretti (1970), Marques (1972), Ponge (1974) and Elizabeth Bishop (1976).


Copper beeches, glistening poplars
And pine-trees steep above the October fog.
In the valley the lake steams. On the other side,
On mountain ridges, snow already lies.
What remains of life? Only this light,
Peculiar to sunny weather in this season,
Which makes you blink. People say: this is,
And there is neither skill nor talent
Able to reach beyond whatever is,
And unnecessary memories lose their strength.

A smell of cider in barrels. The priest
Mixes lime with a spade outside the school.
By a path my son is running there. Boys carry
Sacks of chestnuts they have gathered from the slopes.

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