At the Solidarity monument in Gdasnk, Poland, there are figures of three icons: Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II, and Czeslaw Milosz.
Does that help you understand the monumental importance and achievement of this truly great man?
Here's Patricia Sullivan's Washington Post obituary, which appeared last Sunday:
Polish Poet Czeslaw Milosz, 93, Dies
Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, 93, one of the major poets of the violent 20th century whose unflinching view of man's inhumanity was tempered by his love of the world's beauty, died Aug. 14 at his home in Krakow, Poland.
No exact cause of death was reported.
His assistant told the Associated Press: "It's death, simply death. It was his time - he was 93."
His life, forged from the start in the crucible of Russia and Eastern Europe, straddled the chaos and the cataclysms of the century.
He spent 30 years in self-imposed exile in France and the United States but returned to Poland in 1989 after the overthrow of Communist rule.
His poetry inspired his countrymen for decades before he won the 1980 Nobel Prize for literature, which made him one of the best-read poets in the United States.
"He is without question one of the heroic figures of 20th-century poetry, although 'heroic' was a mantle he shunned," said Robert Faggen, a literature professor at Claremont McKenna College who interviewed, studied and wrote about the poet.
"At the [Solidarity] monument in Gdansk, you have icons of three figures: Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II and Milosz."
His work grappled ceaselessly with the religious and metaphysical paradox of how to live, and maintain one's faith, in a world of mass-scale suffering.
He insisted on detachment and irony.
"There is a very dark vision of the world in my work," he once told a Washington Post reporter, but he added that he was "a great partisan of human hope" due to his religious convictions.
He believed, he said, in "the passionate pursuit of the real."
Mr. Milosz was born in what is now Lithuania and raised on the battle lines of Russia during World War I.
His father built roads for the czarist army.
After the war, the family returned to its home town, which had become part of the Polish state. Mr. Milosz fought in the Resistance in World War II, living in occupied Warsaw and publishing anti-Nazi poetry in underground journals.
He entered the diplomatic corps of the fledgling Polish republic after the war, serving for a time as cultural attache in Washington.