Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Song On the End of the World

I am taking an online writing class. It is self-paced and the first lesson is about poetry. It has taken me months to start my assignments. This may seem odd to some because I love reading and writing but poetry scares me. It is the purest most essential form of writing. When I read poetry, I savour it. Speaking the words outloud as they form images, sensations, thoughts, and impressions. How could I ever create such eloquence? Any attempt almost seems sacreligious as I have always felt clumsy with words.

But now the time has come to start working on my assignments and reading what the professor assigns instead of what I feel like reading. I was very struck by this poem by Czeslaw Milosz:

A Song On the End of the World

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


Anonymous said...

It is a beautiful poem indeed and I am also very happy you are exploring the creative side of you!
What happened to another entry you had on your blog this morning and which challenged me to write something about but do not see here anymore?
Take care,

margaret said...

Thanks, E.
The poem makes me think about how much we all procrastinate in our lives when it comes to personal and global issues and reminds me that I should be living everyday to its fullest.
About the other post; I was feeling that it was too negative. And I was comparing which is not something I believe in. I get frustrated because so many Lebanese are so educated and yet there is still no peace.

Jan said...

I really like this poem and am going to copy and save it. It reminds me of all the people looking for the Rapture, instead of realizing right NOW is what we have. Thank you.