German federal election, 2017
You whom I could not save
Listen to me.
Try to understand this simple speech as I would be ashamed of another. I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words. I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree.
What strengthened me, for you was lethal. You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one, Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty; Blind force with accomplished shape.
Here is a valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge Going into white fog. Here is a broken city; And the wind throws the screams of gulls on your grave When I am talking with you.
What is poetry which does not save Nations or people? A connivance with official lies, A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment, Readings for sophomore girls. That I wanted good poetry without knowing it, That I discovered, late, its salutary aim, In this and only this I find salvation.
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.
– Czesław Miłosz, Warsaw, 1945.