Miłosz Artefact
Art

Miłosz Artefact

On Czesław Miłosz and Solastalgia
Anna Drzewiecki
Reading
time 9 minutes

And the city stood in its brightness when years later I

returned.

And life was running out, Ruteboeuf’s or Villon’s.

Descendants, already born, were dancing their dances.

Women looked in their mirrors made from a new metal.

What was it all for if I cannot speak.

She stood above me, heavy, like the earth on its axis.

My ashes were laid in a can under the bistro counter.

– Czesław Miłosz, “And the City Stood in Its Brightness”

To return, you must first leave a place, or it must leave you.

***

Autumn in Berkeley. Dusk. Not far from the university where Czesław Miłosz taught, I wind up paved streets with E. We ascend into a dusty eucalyptus grove, only somewhat talking. A child in a red coat (which must be stifling) cries and cries and cries. The smell of growth. Some jasmine. When we can see the San Francisco bay, we halt. Stop. Full stop. Human industry, factories, cars, houses, emits its pollution. We could chart matrixes in the lights, astrologies in all shades of yellow. A few stars emerge like piercings in the flesh of sky.

***

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