BELLS IN WINTER by Czeslaw Milosz


Email this review


Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz has constructed a resonant book on the philosophical premise that the events of our earthly lives can never be fully understood. Indeed, each poem expresses to some degree a profound sense of wonder at the very fact of existence, an amazement couched in a concrete, tangible landscape all Milosz' own. In ""Encounter,"" he recalls a pastoral scene whose participants are now dead by stating "". . . where are they, where are they going/ The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles./ I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder. . . ."" In a shift of mood, he says in the poem ""Recess"": ""Life was impossible, but was endured./ Whose life? Mine, but what does that mean?"" This is a meditative book, one which questions its own motives constantly and is careful not to put anything to the page which has not been thoroughly thought out, as in ""Over Cities"": ""I was long in learning to speak, now I let days pass without a word. . . ."" This is true of Milosz' attitude towards language as well as his philosophical stance. One is left with the feeling that, however we pale in comparison with the cosmos, the discipline of writing can force us not to waste a moment of our time, or make too much of it.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Ecco--dist. by Viking