A Task

by

Czeslaw Milosz


In fear and trembling, I think I would fulfill my life

Only if I brought myself to make a public confession

Revealing a sham, my own and of my epoch:

We were permitted to shriek in the tongue of dwarfs and demons

But pure and generous words were forbidden

Under so stiff a penalty that whoever dared to pronounce one

Considered himself as a lost man.



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