This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.Two Modern Masters: Sisson and Milosz
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
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 . . .
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 . . .
What beauty. What light. An echo.
You lean from the window of a train, behind the house of the
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') ...
If you have forgotten your username and password, please enter the email address you used when you joined. Your login details will then be emailed to the address specified.
If you are not a subscriber and would like to enjoy the 259 issues containing over 10,500 poems, articles, reports, interviews and reviews, why not subscribe to the website today?