Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's My Birthday!

Late Ripeness
Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former lives were departing,
like ships, together with their sorrow.

And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas
assigned to my brush came closer,
ready now to be described better than they were before.

I was not separated from people,
grief and pity joined us.
We forget -- I kept saying -- that we are all children of the King.

For where we come from there is no division
into Yes and No, into is, was, and will be.

We were miserable, we used no more than a hundredth part
of the gift we received for our long journey.

Moments from yesterday and from centuries ago -
a sword blow, the painting of eyelashes before a mirror
of polished metal, a lethal musket shot, a caravel
staving its hull against a reef -- they dwell in us,
waiting for a fulfillment.

I knew, always, that I would be a worker in the vineyard,
as are all men and women living at the same time,
whether they are aware of it or not.

By Czeslaw Milosz


  1. Where do you find these
    amazing poems? Happy Birthday to someone
    who always matters in a most special way!

  2. Dear Nancy,

    Finally scrolled down on my dashboard and found your blog... beautiful poem -- thank you... and then I read your profile... perhaps we've talked about this before, but I was surprised to see the connections of our paths: Yes Siddhartha when I was in college, but it was Autobiography that put me into the "conversionary experience" that has informed my life since my mid-20's and then my first yoga book earlier that Yogananda (1968 I think) was Richard Hittleman. Started yoga then! And still have the book.. Much love to you... hope you are having wonderful holidays.

    Love, Judith