Monday, February 2, 2015

Czeslaw Milosz: "Eyes"

My most honorable eyes. You are not in the best shape.
I receive from you an image, less than sharp,
And if a color, then it's dimmed.
And you were a pack of royal hounds
With whom I would set forth in the early morning.
My wondrously quick eyes, you saw many things,
Lands and cities. Islands and oceans.
Together we greeted immense sunrises,
When the fresh air invited us to run
Along trails just dry from cold night dew.
Now what you have seen is hidden inside
And changed into memory or dreams
Slowly I move away from the fair of the world
And I notice in myself a distaste
For monkeyish dresses, shrieks and drum beats.
What a relief. Alone with my meditation
On the basic similarity in humans
And their tiny grain of dissimilarity.
Without eyes, my gaze is fixed on one bright point
That grows large and takes me in.

"Eyes" by Czeslaw Milosz, from Second Space: New Poems (Ecco, 2004). Poem translated from the original Polish by Czeslaw Milosz, Carol Milosz and Renata , as presented on Visegrad Literature.

Art credit: "Go into the Light," photograph taken on November 18, 2010, by Eric Nelson.

1 comment :

  1. Ah, I recognize myself in Milosz's poem. Never was I so astonished to find color as I was after I had cataracts removed! After the first one, I realized I had been looking at the world as if through a tobacco-filmed glass. What a surprise to find how vivid orange is, how hard and bright the winter sky, how very white my hair was, not yellowed with age, but a shining white that nearly glows. This poem also reminds me of "Monet Refuses the Operation" by Lisel Mueller. In it Monet has a sort of opposite take on the changing of vision, one that an artist might understand and appreciate. As for me, I am glad of advances that gave me back a colorful world!


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