3. I Am Not
-From: A Theological Treatise byCzeslaw Milosz
I am not, and I do not want to be, a possessor of the truth.
Wandering on the outskirts of heresy is about right for me.
In order to avoid what people call ‘the serenity of faith,’
Which is, after all, merely self-satisfaction.
My Polish compatriots have always liked the language of ritual
And disliked theology.
Perhaps I was like a monk in a mid-forest monastery
Who, seeing from his window a river in flood,
Wrote a treatise in Latin, a language entirely incomprehensible
To peasants in their sheepskin coats.
How ridiculous to deliberate on the aesthetics of Baudelaire
Amidst the crooked fences of a little town
Where hens rummage in the middle of a dusty street.
I used to turn for help to the Holy Mary,
But I had difficulty recognizing her
In the deity elevated into the gilding of altars.