A great poem by a great poet:
Love means to learn to look
The Way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way
heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills.
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows
what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always
Czelaw Milosz (1911-2004) ranks among the most respected poets of the 20th century. Born in 1911 in Szetejnie, Lithuania, of partly Polish and partly Lithuanian parentage, he spent much of the Second World War in Warsaw, where he was active in the struggle against the Nazis. He left Poland in 1951 to live in France, and in 1960, he emigrated to the US where he became a tenured professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Milosz’s poetry defined tragedy and beauty of his age with an unrivalled beauty, elegance and precision. Whether describing his early youth in Poland, the anguish of war-torn Warsaw or his personal search for religious meaning, his poems brilliantly evokes the wonder, amazement and the sensuous detail of living, and the particular individuality of every life.