In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.

— Czeslaw Milosz

The most memorable Czeslaw Milosz quotes to discover and learn by heart

Grow your tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth.

Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality. Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself, so the weary travelers may find repose.

63

The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.

39

The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason. The passionless cannot change history.

36

Consolation Calm down. Both your sins and your good deeds will be lost in oblivion.

31

The true enemy of man is generalization.

24

Be young forever, seasons of the earth.

24

Men will clutch at illusions when they have nothing else to hold to.

19

The death of a man is like the fall of a mighty nation That had valiant armies, captains, and prophets, And wealthy ports and ships all over the seas.

18

At every sunrise I renounce the doubts of night and greet the new day of a most precious delusion.

18

A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death.

16

A day so happy. Fog lifted early. I worked in the garden. Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers. There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess. I know no one worth my envying him.

13

Forget the suffering You caused others.

Forget the suffering Others caused you. The waters run and run, Springs sparkle and are done, You walk the earth you are forgetting.

13

About Czeslaw Milosz

Quotes 84 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

Human material seems to have one major defect: it does not like to be considered merely as human material. It finds it hard to endure the feeling that it must resign itself to passive acceptance of changes introduced from above.

8

The partition separating life from death is so tenuous.

The unbelievable fragility of our organism suggests a vision on a screen: a kind of mist condenses itself into a human shape, lasts a moment and scatters.

7

What is poetry which does not save nations or people?

7

They used to pour millet on graves or poppy seeds To feed the dead who would come disguised as birds. I put this book here for you, who once lived So that you should visit us no more.

7

Vulgarized knowledge characteristically gives birth to a feeling that everything is understandable and explained. It is like a system of bridges built over chasms. One can travel boldly ahead over these bridges, ignoring the chasms. It is forbidden to look down into them; but that, alas, does not alter the fact that they exist.

7

A man should not love the moon. An ax should not lose weight in his hand. His garden should smell of rotting apples, And grow a fair amount of nettles.

7

Poetry is news brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.

6

I was left behind with the immensity of existing things.

A sponge, suffering because it cannot saturate itself; a river, suffering because reflections of clouds and trees are not clouds and trees.

5

It was only toward the middle of the twentieth century that the inhabitants of many European countries came, in general unpleasantly, to the realization that their fate could be influenced directly by intricate and abstruse books of philosophy.

5

It isn't pleasant to surrender to the hegemony of a nation which is still wild and primitive, and to concede the absolute superiority of its customs and institutions, science and technology, literature and art. Must one sacrifice so much in the name of the unity of mankind?

5

Do you know how it is when one wakes at night suddenly and asks, listening to the pounding heart: what more do you want, insatiable?

5

I've always regretted that I'm made of contradictions.

But, if contradiction is impossible to overcome, we have to accept both its ends.

5

Grow your tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth.

5

It is impossible to communicate to people who have not experienced it the undefinable menace of total rationalism.

4

Every poet depends upon generations who wrote in his native tongue;

he inherits styles and forms elaborated by those who lived before him. At the same time, though, he feels that those old means of expression are not adequate to his own experience.

4

We have become indifferent to content, and react, not even to form, but to technique, to technical efficiency itself.

3

Love means to look at yourself The way one looks at distant things For you are only one thing among many.

3

There was a time when only wise books were read helping us to bear our pain and misery. This, after all, is not quite the same as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics. And yet the world is different from what it seems to be and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings.

3

He returns years later, has no demands.

He wants only one, most precious thing: To see, purely and simply, without name, Without expectations, fears, or hopes, At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

2

Human reason is beautiful and invincible.

No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books, No sentence of banishment can prevail against it. It puts what should be above things as they are. It does not know Jew from Greek nor slave from master.

1

It is sweet to think I was a companion in an expedition that never ends

1

The soul exceeds its circumstances.

0

Our memory is childish and it saves only what we need.

0

I liked beaches, swimming pools, and clinics for there they were the bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. I pitied them and myself, but this will not protect me. The word and the thought are over.

0

Do not feel safe. The poet remembers. You can kill one, but another is born. The words are written down, the deed, the date.

0

A weak human mercy walks in the corridors of hospitals and is like a half-thawed winter.

0

You see how I try To reach with words What matters most And how I fail.

0

The child who dwells inside us trusts that there are wise men somewhere who know the truth.

0

All was taken away from you: white dresses, wings, even existence.

0

I think that I am here, on this earth, to present a report on it, but to whom I don't know. As if I were sent so that whatever takes place has meaning because it changes into memory.

0

On the day the world ends A bee circles a clover, A fisherman mends a glimmering net.

0

Evil grows and bears fruit, which is understandable, because it has logic and probability on its side and also, of course, strength. The resistance of tiny kernels of good, to which no one grants the power of causing far-reaching consequences, is entirely mysterious, however. Such seeming nothingness not only lasts but contains within itself enormous energy which is revealed gradually.

0

I am not my own friend.Time cuts me in two.

0

Learning To believe you are magnificent.

And gradually to discover that you are not magnificent. Enough labor for one human life.

0

I have no wisdom, no skills, and no faith but I received strength, it tears the world apart. I shall break, a heavy wave, against its shores and a young wave will cover my trace.

0

Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone.

0

What has no shadow has no strength to live.

0