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This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

Two Modern Masters: Sisson and Milosz Donald Davie

C. H. Sisson and Czeslaw Milosz - the unlikely pairing has this much to commend it: that it rests on experience, on experiencing an identical or near-identical cadence in the one poet's verse, and in the other's. Here are four instances from Milosz's Bells in Winter, of verses which end on a cadence that readers of Sisson must surely recognize as familiar:


And if they say that all I heard was the rushing of a Heraclitean
  river
That will be enough, for the mere listening to it wore me down . . .
                                                 ('A Short Recess')

I would have wept over my exposed delusion
Had the custom of regretting our offenses been preserved . . .
                                                       (ibid.)

I made a pledge, what kind, I don't remember.
I wore a silver scout badge, then a gold one.
I took an oath, in mystical lodges, in underground assemblies
Swearing by the freedom of the people, or perhaps by brother-
  hood . . .
                                                      (ibid.)

What beauty. What light. An echo.
You lean from the window of a train, behind the house of the
  signalman
Children wave their kerchiefs. Woods flow by. An echo.
Or she, in a long dress embroidered in gold
Steps down and down the stairs, your beloved.
The so-called sights of the earth. But not many . . .
                                              ('The Accuser') ...


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