Seen fleetingly, from a train

Seen fleetingly, from a train:
a foggy evening, strands of smoke
hanging immobile over fields,
the humid blackness of earth, the sun
almost set—against its fading shield,
far away, two dots: women in dark wraps
coming back from church perhaps, perhaps
one tells something to another, some common story,
of sinful lives perhaps—her words
distinct and simple but out of them
one could create everything
again. Keep it in memory, forever:
the sun, ploughed earth, women,
love, evening, those few words
good for the beginning, keep it all—
perhaps tomorrow we will be
somewhere else, altogether.

— Bronislaw Maj

Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass

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