Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry

A Song on the End of the World

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

~ Czeslaw Milosz
translated by Anthony Milosz

The women walking through a field under their umbrellas are students at the St. Paul School of Fine Arts c. 1900. Listen.


Anonymous said...

Your book list was so interesting.
I think my best read of 2009 was The Priory by Dorothy Whipple published in 1939.
A fabulous family saga with really quirky characters.
Love your illustration of the woman on the sofa....
Happy New Year

Sarah said...

What a beautiful poem. Such a great way of saying make the most of each day and live it as if it was the last.
I liked your book post below. I write down all the books I read but don't review them as such-apart from in my head of course! I did not read enough last year and am determined to rectify that htis year!
Happy New Year to you!

Marilyn said...

A lovely poem and picture. The music was enchanting and a time of quiet peace.

Anonymous said...

lovely poem. really enjoyed your previous post on books of the year. i am going through a frenzy of ordering new books via amazon (by the way do you know a better online source for books?) as i just dont have ANY new reading material.

Gillian said...

I do love that old photograph. This poem is also a good reminder to be totally immersed in the moment. A lesson I'm constantly needing to learn.
Happy New year to you!!! xoxo

S. Etole said...

another ordinary day ... a good reminder to always be prepared

Jeffrey said...

The world ends everyday and starts afresh with the morning.

Anonymous said...

Very Nice!!

Suz said...

Czeslaw Milosz...I'm impressed!

Wonderful poem
keep 'em coming

willow said...

This poem reminds me of the story of my fourth great grandfather, who was a preacher. As he was planting an orchard, one of his parishioners happend by and asked him why he was planting an orchard, if he thought the end was near. He replied, "Oh, well, we can't tell exactly. There may have been an error in the calculation." :^) I really should post on this. Thanks for the inspiration!

Suvarna said...

good words for a new year, may you take a big bite out of life this year.

Gigi said...

Oh, Relyn, How do I explain that this is my FAVORITE poem of all time, and this is coming from a woman who eats, sleeps, and breathes poetry. Milosz is the reason I became a poet, and the fact that you posted this particular poem today is most amazing to me. Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, my father died. I was 16 years old, and my sophomore English teacher gave me some poems by Milosz as a gift along with her condolence card. I read, and reread his work, and then in grad school I wrote my master's thesis on personal and communal responsibility in the poetry of Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska. In many ways, he took on a fatherly role for me in my life, even though we never met. His poems and essays have always guided me.

I've recently been writing about "Song on the End of the World," so to find it here on your magical blog is a true gift. Thank you, my friend.

All best,

TheEccentricLady said...

I am so sorry you don't have a club. I was not happy to join mine 10 years ago. I didn't think I could finish a book in a month. It has lead me to some great books and some wonderful women friends. The one problem is I don't always get to read for myself I just get the club book done. Thanks for visiting me :)

Roban said...

I love the melodic sound of this poem, like a summer rain beating down....

Wallflower said...

What a beautiful poem, thank you for sharing it with us!!

Patti said...

beautiful poem, Relyn. I would love to know how you pick which poems to post!

Isabel said...

Thank you for introducing me to this poem. Lovely!

Jaime said...

I've never heard of Milosz. But after reading this poem and then reading Gigi's comment, I am so compelled to explore!
Thank you :):)

Oldies, but Goodies