Faith (Czeslaw Milosz)

September 8, 2008

The word Faith means when someone sees
A dew-drop or a floating leaf, and knows
That they are, because they have to be.
And even if you dreamed, or closed your eyes
And wished, the world would still be what it was,
And the leaf would still be carried down the river.

It means that when someone’s foot is hurt
By a sharp rock, he also knows that rocks
Are here so they can hurt our feet.
Look, see the long shadow cast by the tree;
And flowers and people throw shadows on the earth:
What has no shadow has no strength to live.

*
Knowing what they are, because they have to be, is a dizzying reality, I think. This kind of knowing saves us from solipsism, a great enemy of faith. And as my friend Bob Murphy said once, sometimes it’s only shadows we see by.

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