I should now be wiser than I was.
Yet I don’t know whether I am wiser.
Memory composes a story of shame and amazements.
The shames I closed inside myself, but the amazements,
at a sun-streak on a wall, at the trill of an oriole, a face,
an iris, a volume of poems, a person, endure and return in brightness.
Such moments lifted me above my lameness.
You, with whom I fell in love, approach, and forgive me
my trespasses because I was dazzled by your beauty.
You were not perfect, but just that arch of eyebrow,
that tilt of head, that voice, reticent and seductive,
could only belong to a perfect creature.
I swore to love you eternally, but later on
my resolution wavered.
My fabric is woven of flickering glimpses,
it wouldn’t have been large enough to wrap a monument.
I was left with many unwritten odes in honor
of men and women.
Their incomparable bravery, devotion,
self-sacrifice passed away with them, and nobody knows of it.
Nobody knows for all eternity.
When I think this, I need an immortal Witness
so that he alone knows and remembers.
[Czeslaw Milosz, 'I Should Now', from Second Space]