Monday, April 9, 2012

Czeslaw Milosz - New and Collected Poems (1931 - 2001)

In response to a comment by Ben on my recent post "Those Old Stars - The High Stars of the Southern Cross" I wrote.....

........."I remember Arthur Ransome the author of the 'Swallows and Amazons' series of books for children stating that wherever he was overseas during the disruptive war years (WW2) he always looked for the Pole Star at night and knew that it was also shining on his beloved Lake District in England where he had so much joy as a child, and that to do this, gave him great comfort."

I remembered this statement of Ransomes because I myself have this curious sentiment about places I have visited. Even as I am typing this I know that a soft surf breaks below the Pohutakawa trees on that delightful beach at Peach Cove, Whangarei Heads where I once paddled my kayak and that at this time of night it is cool and misty on the tops among the brown tussock on Banks Peninsular where I rambled and explored as a boy - these places, once seen and experienced become a triolgy to us as they exist not only in our minds and hearts, but in actuality.

I have been reading the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz lately (Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1980). His poem 'Hope' talks of this and more.


Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you're sure it's there,
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope,
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.


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