Sarajevo- Czeslaw Milosz

May 29, 2009


– Perhaps this is not a poem but at least I say what I feel

Now that a revolution really is needed, those who once were

fervent are quite cool.

While a country murdered and raped calls for help from the 

Europe which it had trusted, they yawn.

While statesmen choose villainy and no voice is raised to call it by


The rebellion of the young who called for a new earth was a

sham, and the generation has written the verdict on itself,

Listening with indifference to the cries of those who perish

because they are after all just barbarians killing each other

And the lives of the well-fed are worth more that the lives of the 


It is revealed now that their Europe since the beginning has been a

deception, for its faith and its foundation is nothingness.

And nothingness, as the prophets keep saying, brings forth only

nothingness, and they will be led again like cattle to


Let them tremble and at the last moment comprehend that the

word Sarajevo will from now on mean the destruction of their

sons and the debasement of their daughters.

They prepare it by repeating: “We at least are safe,” unaware that

what will strike them ripens in themselves.

-Milosz, Czeslaw. Facing the River: New Poems. The Ecco Press; New Jersey, 1995. pg. 34-5

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