#281

NYTGRAYMATTERSMILEbisbis

Prescription by Czeslaw Milosz

Everything but confessions. My own life
Annoys me so, I would find relief
In telling about it. And I would be understood
By those wretches — how many! — who wobble
In the streets of cities, drugged and drunk,
Sick with the leprosy of memory and the guilt of living.
So what restrains me? Shame
That my misfortunes are not picturesque enough?
Or contrariness. Wailing has become fashionable,
Unhappy childhoods, trauma, all the rest.
Even had I been ready for a Job’s complaint,
It is better to keep silent, to praise the immutable
Order of things. No, something else
Forbids me to speak. Whoever suffers
Should be a teller of the truth. Should? How,
With all the disguises, comedy, self-pity?
Falseness of feeling results in a false phrase.
I value style too much to take the risk.

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