Inspiration: Czesław Miłosz

The Journey
by Czesław Miłosz, Washington, D.C., 1948

In pink fingers of magnolia,
In the downy softness of May,
In the leap from branch to branch
Of a bird, pure-colored, a cardinal,
Between breasts of calm rivers
Lies this city
Into which I ride with a bouquet of stiff roses
On my knees, like the jack of hearts,
Shouting for joy of spring
And the shortness of life.

Waves of scent, a song,
Wet armfuls of purple flowers
Shaken off by a black hand,
Tunnels of neon lights,
The green, and a song again,
Bridges over the birds’ realms,
Streetlights – teddy bears’ eyes
Made of rubies.

Afternoon whiskers,
Thorny braids of black girls,
Cool drinks, shadowy glasses
At lips painted in the shape of a heart,
Mannequins with thighs in silk,
Constantly combed cemeteries
Recede into night, rocket-like,
Into a bursting night
Into oblivion.


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