Derived from people and heights.

I can’t help analyzing this poem a bit….. I am a book-lover, and if I didn’t know that the dead will be resurrected in glory, I might have liked to write this poem:

AND YET THE BOOKS

And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are,” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

-Czeslaw Milosz

7 thoughts on “Derived from people and heights.

  1. “I can’t help analyzing this poem a bit….. I am a book-lover, and if I didn’t know that the dead will be resurrected in glory, I might have liked to write this poem” I understand completely the feeling! It is only recently that I have “lost” this passion for books and art, because life is very brief, and the matters of our faith are ‘deadly’ serious. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you? (Even if you may not share it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m firmly convinced Czeslaw Milosz is writing, like Solomon, “under the sun.” He is a masterful poet and one of our Tolkien types. Not everyone can see under the surface, but reading his poetry speaks, like David, of his own relationship with our Master !

    Like

  3. I’ve been thinking about the poem off and on. I’m considering not liking it, but that would show that I don’t really get it. So . . . When you decide to write your analysis, maybe my concerns* will be cleared up.

    * almost seems like a secular kind of Gnosticism, as if events, emotions, ideas contained in books are more real, more significant, than the persons who experienced them.

    Like

  4. mmmmm. Lovely poem! I think there is something so personal about our libraries. I am so in love with my choices, but not very many other people’s choices. When I browse for books new or used, it’s different. I love to sit in my office and revel in the company of my books.

    Liked by 1 person

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