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Veni Creator

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Come, Holy Spirit,   
bending or not bending the grasses,   
appearing or not above our heads in a tongue of flame,   
at hay harvest or when they plough in the orchards or when snow   
covers crippled firs in the Sierra Nevada.   
I am only a man: I need visible signs.   
I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.   
Many a time I asked, you know it well, that the statue in church   
lifts its hand, only once, just once, for me.   
But I understand that signs must be human,   
therefore call one man, anywhere on earth,   
not me—after all I have some decency—   
and allow me, when I look at him, to marvel at you.   

Berkely, 1961

Czeslaw Milosz, "Veni Creator" from Collected Poems, 1931-1987. Copyright © 1988 by Czeslaw Milosz Royalties, Inc. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Source: Collected Poems 1931-1987 (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1988)
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Veni Creator

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