Archive for May 8th, 2018

May 8, 2018

One Life, A Subject To Let — #Milosz #8Of40 #Books

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

One Life - A Subject To Let (Milosz)

Stanczyk has now made it 20% of my way through Miłosz’s Subjects To Let. This is an exercise in discipline and learning to read/write as well as Miłosz; not like Miłosz but as well as. His subjects permeate with mortality and impermanence. So today’s subject appears to dwell in that sweet spot. But appearances can be deceiving. My own żona, who tutors as if she were a rabbi and that tutelage informs my Catholic world view, says that her mother was fond of quoting, “Be careful what you martyr yourself for as you only have One Life”.

As is so often with sages their words are wise on multiple levels. Of course there was the obvious meaning of giving away your life and that such sacrifice should be for what you see as your penultimate value(s). But on another level it means spend your time in life wisely and take care that your expenditures are for worthwhile purposes.

But it is also about mortality and impermanence. I think we can also see that the woman subject receives Miłosz’s scorn because she not only rebuffed the poet/essayist Julius Słowacki ‘s petition for love, she also upbraided this great man. I can imagine that Miłosz identified with Słowacki since they seemed to be cut from the same cloth. The both were poets and essayists. They also continued to write poetry ’til their dying days. So I guess Miłosz sees her karmic retribution is the complete and utter lack of a memory of her (whose name I refuse to type) and her efforts. Read the three pages of the subject, “One Life“.

But let me honor Juliusz Słowacki, by leaving you, good reader, with Słowacki’s prophetic 1848 poem, The Slavic Pope.

Here comes our Slavic Pope to the rescue,

Brother of mankind.

Angel batallions dust off his throne with

Whisks made of roses,

While he pours lotion onto our bosom,

Pontiff   benign.

He will distribute love like a warlord

Passes out arms;

His strength sacramental will gather the cosmos

Into his strong palms.

Then will he send glad tidings to flutter

Like Noah’s dove:

News that the spirit’s here and acknowledged,

Shining   alone.

And we shall see angels part nicely before him

The sky above.

He’ll stand on his throne, illumined, creating

Both world and throne.

His voice will transform the nations to brethren.

Burnt  offerings

Circle the spirits in their march toward

Their final goal.

Strength sacramental of hundreds of nations

Will help our king

See that the spirits’ work overpowers

Death’s mournful toll.

The wounds of the world shall he cleanse, and banish

Rot.   pus and all —

He will redeem the world and bring to it

Both health and love.

He shall sweep clean the insides of churches

And clear the hall,

And then reveal the Lord our Creator

Shining   above.

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