‘Magpiety’ by Czeslaw Milosz

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The same and not quite the same, I walked through oak forests
Amazed that my Muse, Mnemosyne,
Has in no way diminished my amazement.
A magpie was screeching and I said: Magpiety?
What is magpiety? I shall never achieve
A magpie heart, a hairy nostril over the beak, a flight
That always renews just when coming down,
And so I shall never comprehend magpiety.
If however magpiety does not exist
My nature does not exist either.
Who would have guessed that, centuries later,
I would invent the question of universals?

Montgeron, 1958

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Source: Miłosz, Czesław. New and Collected Poems, 1931-2001. New York, N.Y: Ecco, 2003. Print.

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