Nov 12 2021

Czeslaw Milosz – Gift

Published by at 8:13 am under Poetry

by Czeslaw Milosz

A day so happy.
Fog lifted early I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no man worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man didn’t embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
On straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

/ Image by Christine Tutunjian /

A moment of pure, natural bliss.

Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.

There is such relief for the spirit in the lines–

There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no man worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.

We imagine that there is so much to do — to provide for ourselves, to ornament our lives, to right wrongs — but they can be a terrible burden. The burden is not in the effort of accomplishment; rather, it is because we have taken the joy and the wholeness that is inherent and always present within ourselves and we have externalized it. We tell ourselves, “I can experience happiness and rest when I make this happen or when I have corrected that.” But this and that are never fully attained, so we strive relentlessly while depriving ourselves of the fulfillment that is our birthright.

All that can be healed with a holy moment, a quiet moment in the garden at dawn with the fog lifting.

In my body I felt no pain.
On straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

Have a beautiful morning!

Recommended Books: Czeslaw Milosz

New and Collected Poems 1931 – 2001 The Collected Poems Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness To Begin Where I Am: The Selected Prose of Czeslaw Milosz A Treatise on Poetry
More Books >>

Czeslaw Milosz, Czeslaw Milosz poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Czeslaw Milosz

Poland (1911 – 2004) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic
Christian : Catholic

Czeslaw Milosz was a Polish-American Nobel Prize winning writer. He was a rare voice of conscience, human insight, and gentle mysticism, in the midst of the Cold War era that defined the latter half of the 20th century.

Milosz was born in a small town in Lithuania during the final years of czarist Russia. At the end of World War I, while he was still a boy, his family moved to Vilna (Vilnius). There, he received a rigorous Roman Catholic education, but one that didn’t allow for much intellectual freedom or exploration.

After graduating from the University of Vilna in 1934 with a degree in law, Czeslaw Milosz traveled to Paris, where he connected with his uncle, a diplomat who put Milosz in touch with the Parisian literary community.

Czeslaw Milosz settled in Warsaw just before the German invasion at the beginning of World War II. He became a leading figure in the Warsaw literary scene, and championed art that was both personal and political, rather than merely an expression of aesthetic craft. As the war and occupation continued, Milosz became a writer for the Polish resistance movement.

At the end of the war, when Poland fell under Communist control, Milosz briefly became a diplomat in the service of the new government. However, in the early 1950s, he sought asylum in France, along with his wife and children.

In 1960, Milosz moved to the United States, becoming a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Very late in life, Czeslaw Milosz returned to Poland as a cultural hero, and settled in Krakow. It is there that he died in 2004.

More poetry by Czeslaw Milosz

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Czeslaw Milosz – Gift”

  1. marrobon 12 Nov 2021 at 11:20 am

    Dear Ivan,

    You say it well…’relief for the spirit’ just breathes through this
    uplifting poem. Pure JOY seems to lift from every line and image.
    I’m passing this one on….on a rainy pre-winter gloomy afternoon.
    THANK YOU & happy weekend.


  2. bill e. goldbergon 12 Nov 2021 at 2:57 pm

    hi ivan,

    this has been a favorite poem for years. i so appreciate your sending it and so enjoyed your comments. what you said is true. act from a fulness, a presence, and enjoy the journey.

    thank you,

    bill goldberg

  3. Gregon 12 Nov 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks, Ivan. Gift is wonderful and is something I needed to hear right now. -Greg

  4. Narimanon 13 Nov 2021 at 3:31 am

    It is one of those moments when you feel the joy the
    Peace and the harmony in your soul. You feel one with the Eternal, you feel like part of the eternity. Wijdan

  5. Carolon 13 Nov 2021 at 4:12 am

    Oh yes, this poem is a gift reminding us to take notice of our gift in this moment.
    Thank You Ivan.

  6. Marieon 13 Nov 2021 at 9:02 am

    A beautifully written piece. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Elaon 18 Nov 2021 at 6:58 am

    In fact today when my slumber broke
    I greeted good day to the dawn
    Sun rays were trying to scrounge out
    Beau birds were strolling outside
    A very sweet music was going on steadily
    It filled my mind with divinity
    I felt the best of the world treasures in my lap
    Nothing lacking yet
    some things need doing to be fully liberated
    Can I always observe only myself
    Can I create only pure practical thoughts
    Do I remain always stable and detached
    I asked myself.

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