My poem is a response to each line of Czesław Miłosz’s poem. A reinterpretation, remake, using a model and making it my own, originally written for Mrs. Reder’s English class.


By Tyler Mobley 

You looking on


For I will be short in relating what it is I wish to say, to do otherwise is unjust to the matter. 

My heart and hands bring you these words, nothing else. 

I speak as ocean waves, you catch my rise n fall. 

There’s no grappling with the mystery, you must let it run through you.

Everything you assumed was an end, was just another beginning.  

Able to capture light from darkness, relatable and sweet, 

Just a reckon on behalf of Mona Lisa with a knowing smile. 

We channel our beauty to islands out at sea, an arch over water 

Goes deeper than we like to think, the mainland lies behind smog.  

Here, brake dust steals life before it is known, and miniums wages 

Drown out the silence of your grave. 

What is poetry which does not save

Some shred of humanity? 

Just bubbles rising in a bath,

As someone who boast without jest

Looking dearly for the glasses on their head.

I will not blame you, as I hope you do for me 

When I say, understanding came a moment too late, 

As fools before salvation, my word implies time. 

I paid twelve hundred for five hundred copies, 

Do the math or listen to your heart, I’m not here to sell something.

I’ll leave this here for you on the other side 

So you may rest knowing, you still rest with us.  


By Czesław Miłosz 

You whom I could not save  

Listen to me.

Try to understand this simple speech as i would be ashamed of


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 the valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge 

Going into white fog. Here is a broken city,

And the wind throws 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, 

That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,

In this and only this I find salvation. 

They used to pour on graves millet 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.  

T.R. Czesław Miłosz (pg.437)

Forche, Carolyn. Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. New York: W.w. norton, 2009. Print.


Author: mobleysurfer

Change is the only constant.

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