A Poem For Sunday


"Meaning" by Czeslaw Milosz:

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
– And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth? …

The full poem, translated by former national Poet Laureate Richard Hass, is here. Mark Gordon is awed:

This and many other poems by Milosz always cause me to ask: If faith isn’t a leap, with all the attendant risk that word implies, then what good is it? The tremulous joy of living isn’t in certainty, or even in mathematical probability. The joy, the ecstasy is in possibility!

The Paris Review interviewed Milosz about his Catholic faith, philosophy, and poetry as "the passionate pursuit of the real," to which he replies:

The real, by which I mean God, continues to remain unfathomable.

(Photo: "A Tale Of Two Hemispheres" by Tunç Tezel and Stéphane Guisard via NASA)