Milosz vs. Jeffers

Poet of Poland, your faith had you sterilised,
though you didn’t always wear its sheath.
What you took for inhuman things, whilst the fruiting flesh
rotted in your mind, demonic things, were things more solid
than your optimism, which fell with you into the grave.
I ask you which one was right? Mercy and salvation, the apple trees
of happy shade, have not visited the world since you died
and Robin’s fore-prophecy of love for the earth was more prescient
than your devoted superstitions. Vast white steaks of ice caps are melting.
Deforestation spreads like a cancer. Lips dyed with wine have not tasted
the rising sea levels. Monstrances fell like rotten sunflowers.
Your creed was mortal, Robinson’s immortal.
The earth teaches now that the eye of Carmel soared
and foresaw the catastrophes your Western trinkets wrought.
Tragedy spares us nothing. Reality spares even less,
not even the crosses and rosaries you squeezed.

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