Metro’s poetry bus card commemorates centennial of Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz

Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska – Frybes, at left, unveils commemorative "Poetry in Motion/LA" poster honoring poet Czeslaw Milosz. At right, Malgorzata Cup, Consul for Culture. Photo by Gary Leonard

Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska – Frybes, at left, unveils commemorative "Poetry in Motion/LA" poster honoring poet Czeslaw Milosz. At right, Malgorzata Cup, Consul for Culture. Photo by Gary Leonard

Poetry can soothe the soul of many a traveler. The poetry cards on Metro Buses – you’ll find them scattered about in that indented ledge above the windows — have become a welcome respite from a busy day and a pause for reflection, which is not a bad thing when it comes to rush hour.

Launched in partnership between Metro Art with the Poetry Society of America in 1998, “Poetry in Motion/LA” places poetry posters on board Metro buses for the enjoyment of more than one million Metro Bus riders daily.

Czeslaw Milosz

Poet Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004)

The latest poetry bus card is a gift, literally, from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, commemorating the centennial of the birth of the great contemporary poet Czeslaw Milosz, a Nobel laureate (literature, 1980) and California resident whose professorship at UC Berkeley spanned 20 years.

It is in Berkeley where he was inspired to write “Gift,” the poem selected for the poetry card..

Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska-Frybes, in recognition of Poland’s Presidency of the EU Council and in celebration of the 2011 Milosz Year,  unveiled a poster of the bus card inscribed with the poem at a public reception held Nov. 8 at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles.

“Thanks to L.A. Metro and the Poetry Society of America, we have been able to achieve a great success and to bring Milosz closer to people in Los Angeles, all that in such wonderful ambiance of common undertaking,” the Consul General noted in her remarks at the reception.

Produced by Metro Creative Services, the poster is being installed this week in Metro buses for a two-month run. The poet’s centenary has inspired a global reflection and literary festival in more than 30 countries.

Here is Milosz, in his own words:

“Gift” by Czeslaw Milosz

A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

Click here for the news release.