The article is devoted to probably one of the most important themes in Czesław Miłosz’s poetry: a persistent, untiring effort to express, or at least point to, the poet’s experience of dark epiphanies. They are, in his own words, momentary illuminations bringing to light the ontological core of various horrors of human existence and of nature, red in tooth and claw, as well as the enigmatic presence of metaphysical evil in the laws that make for order in our material world. Some of those epiphanies reveal to the poet his destiny: he is to become a witness of the horrors of the twentieth century. However, not all of those auguries are uniformly grim; there are some that suggest his prospects may well be bright. That ambivalence is refl ected in Miłosz’s own attitude towards those sudden fl ashes of insight and revelation. He certainly does not resolve it in his poetry, where the ambivalence of the epiphanic moments is expressed and concealed by the pronoun ‘it’.
This work is complementary with Bogusław Wolniewicz’s text Elzenberg about Milosz. The circumstances surrounding the discovery of Czesław Milosz’s article Duty and Henryk Elzenberg’s polemic are portrayed here. Moreover, in the second part we have attempted to evaluate Joseph Conrad’s novel The Rover.