Czeslaw Milosz, Religion Comes
Czeslaw Milosz died in 2004, soon after this poem was published as part 15of his 23 part poem, "Treatise on Theology," in the book "Second Space." Born in Lithuania in 1911, he survived Nazi occupied Warsaw, defected to France in 1951, and began teaching at UC Berkley in 1960. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1980. His Catholic faith comes through in a kind of lovers' quarrel with the church. I like his perspective on religion, ritual, and the the human struggle.
15. Religion Comes
Religion comes from our pity for humans.
They are too weak to live without divine protection.
Too weak to listen to the screeching noise of the turning of infernal wheels.
Who among us would accept a universe in which there was not one voice
Of compassion, pity, understanding?
To be human is to be completely alien amid the galaxies.
Which is sufficent reason for erecting, together with others, the temples of an unimaginable mercy.