By Czeslaw Milosz, from Unattainable Earth, published in 1986 by the Ecco Press. Milosz is the author of many books, including Bells in Winter and Road-Side Dog. In 1980, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Still one more year of preparation Tomorrow at the latest I'll start working on a great book In which my century will appear as it really was. The sun will rise over the righteous and the wicked. Springs and autumns will unerringly return, In a wet thicket a thrush will build his nest lined with clay And foxes will learn their foxy natures. And that will be the subject, with addenda. Also: armies Running across frozen plains, shouting a curse In a many-voiced chorus; the cannon of a tank Growing immense at the corner of a street; the ride at dusk Into a camp with watchtowers and barbed wire. No it won't happen tomorrow. In five or ten years. I still think too much about the mothers And ask what is man born of woman. He curls himself up and protects his head While he is kicked by heavy boots; on fire and running, He burns with bright flame; a bulldozer sweeps him into a clay pit. Her child. Embracing a teddy bear. Conceived in ecstasy. I haven't learned yet to speak as I should, calmly.