A Song On The End Of The World (Czeslaw Milosz)

July 8, 2008

On the day that 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 edges of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellowed-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 moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits the 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.

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One Response to “A Song On The End Of The World (Czeslaw Milosz)”

  1. fishpatrol said

    I really like the parallelism between the first two stanzas. Animals do…what they do. They are as they should be. That we would say the same of the people in st2 is in turns tragic, lovely, more romantic than bears credence. Acceptable, which says something. What to make of the busy prophet?

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