The motif of an exile In Warsaw „Stodola” (Barn) During his stay in Poland (6.06.1981) Milosz said: „My life resembles the adventures of the fairy-tale Stupid Johnny. The most stupid is to choose emigration." And „Emigration is a poison, A fatal thing. What I bore would kill a horse.” The motif of an exile appears constantly in all of the poet’s work. It appeared as for back as 1937 in the poem „In my homeland” (author’s own translation) prophetically foreseeing the exile’s fate. It was created under the influence of his leaving Wilno which he did not perceive as moving from one Polish town to another. It was a departure from Lithuania to Poland, from his motherland to strange surroundings. (Look also at „Family Europe”). In Milosz’s poetry one can find a lot of traces of the existance of Lithuania - homeland in poet’s memory.
THE YEAR (City without a
The poem „My faithful mother tongue” is devoted to such an understanding of a native land. In the work, different spheres of this nation and different attitudes of the poet are shown: gratitude and love of the homeland's lanquage, the feeling of isolation, hopelessness and resignation, aversion and protest against any connections with Polish character, the awareness of belonging to Polish culture, pride in the role of the defender of the moral order and the mother tongue defender. The whole poem is a kind of dialogue with himself. The starting apostrophe ”Faithful mother tongue”, which is repeated at the end of the poem assigns faithfulness to the mother tongue to the subject. Next, the poet creates the picture of faithful poetical service. Through many years he was bringing gifts to the Polish language. But this harmony of mutual faithfulness is disturbed, because there are not enough good people he could talk to. That is why despair, doubt appear, the thought of „squandered life." After all he did not choose the tempting softness of a carpet (it's a reference / allusion to the decision made in 1951 when he gave up wealth but also the subjection to authorities); he chose the difficult fate of an exile. The only thing that was left to him were little bowls of colors bright and pure, and awareness that it is necessary to save the Polish language. It was the exiled poet's role. The ending of the poem recalls one more time that poetry is a moral act „for what is needed in misfortune is a little order and beauty”
This page, in its earlier 1997 version (use right mouse to open in new window), was created by Aleksandra Kolodziejczyk, Iwona Kowalska, and Dariusz Plygawko, students of the Fifth General Education Liceum in Bielsko-Biala. Marcin Tomana and Piotr Kowalski of the School's Informatics faculty and Urszula Zajaczek of the Polish Language faculty, acted as advisors. Linguistic editing of current version by Peter K. Gessner.
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