On a Phrase by Milosz

by John G. Evans

4/28/2020 5:42:30 AM

“I was tortured by fear of what would happen next.” *


tiny village

born of German earth

which sifts the morning sky?

as my age-old face asks all the questions

and reasons away all the whys. The foggy vapor’s

emergence breaks open like a vile shout of thunder from the

banded colors of red, black, and white, where I am back, again, in 1959.

I see twin fists clenched in an indignity of rage, where blood from my eyes

carries forth yet of another page, while this faction of two ran us both


my brother of three, and while I see this racist duo of terror released from its cage

we run, we run, we run into a darkened crater where structures used to be, my brother

and I, my brother of three. We hang from a deadened cable, or from the root of a tree.

We escaped the twin brothers of fascism and of adversity while

hanging from roots these voices we heard, the blood

of the martyrs, the blood of the trees, rhythmic

seasons came violently from darkness

with our black sinuous renegades

of branch and vine,

as we were

tortured by


*Czelaw Milosz, A Poetic State, Berkley, 1977.

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