Saturday Poem

A Song on the End of the World

On the day the world ends 
A bee circles a clover, 
A fisherman mends a glimmering net. 
Happy porpoises jump in the sea, 
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing 
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends 
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas, 
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn, 
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street 
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island, 
The voice of a violin lasts in the air 
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder 
Are disappointed. 
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps 
Do not believe it is happening now. 
As long as the sun and the moon are above, 
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose, 
As long as rosy infants are born 
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet 
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy, 
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes: 
There will be no other end of the world, 
There will be no other end of the world. 

by Czeslaw Milosz
from The Collected Poems
Penguin Books 1988                            
translated by Anthony Milosz