That malady Print
By Czeslaw Milosz   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Raja, I wish I knew 
the cause of that malady. 
For years I could not accept 
the place I was in. 
I felt I should be somewhere else. 

A city, trees, human voices 
lacked the quality of presence. 
I would live by the hope of moving on. 

Somewhere else there was a city of real presence, 
of real trees and voices and friendship and love. 

Link, if you wish, my peculiar case 
(on the border of schizophrenia) 
to the messianic hope 
of my civilization. 

Ill at ease in the tyranny, ill at ease in the republic, 
in the one I longed for freedom, in the other for the end of corruption. 
Building in my mind a permanent polis 
forever deprived of aimless bustle. 

I learned at last to say: this is my home, 
here, before the glowing coal of ocean sunsets, 
on the shore which faces the shores of your Asia, 
in a great republic, moderately corrupt. 

Raja, this did not cure me 
of my guilt and shame. 
A shame of failing to be 
what I should have been. 

The image of myself 
grows gigantic on the wall 
and against it 
my miserable shadow. 

That's how I came to believe 
in Original Sin 
which is nothing but the first 
victory of the ego. 

Tormented by my ego, deluded by it 
I give you, as you see, a ready argument. 

I hear you saying that liberation is possible 
and that Socratic wisdom 
is identical with your guru's. 

No, Raja, I must start from what I am. 
I am those monsters which visit my dreams 
and reveal to me my hidden essence. 

If I am sick, there is no proof whatsoever 
that man is a healthy creature. 

Greece had to lose, her pure consciousness 
had to make our agony only more acute. 

We needed God loving us in our weakness 
and not in the glory of beatitude. 

No help, Raja, my part is agony, 
struggle, abjection, self-love, and self-hate, 
prayer for the Kingdom 
and reading Pascal.
 

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