Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pasternak Samples

To follow up on a previous post related to George Reavey's translations, here a few favorite snippets of Pasternak's poetry.

The dawn, a venomed, famished viper,
Crawled into holes,
And jungles held moist air of requiem
And finer incense.

O silence--you're the best
Of all I've ever heard.

How soporific it is to live!
To kiss--what utter insomnia.

Who knows if the riddle's answered
Of what's beyond the grave;
But life--like autumn silence--
Is always deep in detail.

There's no nostalgia in the world
That snow will not completely cure.

Were I a man--and not a mere collection here
Of lips and temples, eyes, hands, shoulders, fingers, cheeks!--
Then I'd let rip in crackling verse, in strident lines,
In the boisterous strength and freshness of nostalgia:
I'd have succumbed to them, and led them to the assault;
I would have stormed your citadel, my staggering shame!

Like--Time. For suicide she finds no cause,
And thinks it slow--a tortoise at best.

For in these days the very air reeks of death.
An open window is an open vein.

We were people. But now we are epochs.

An avalanche of diary sheets cast yearly into the fire?

What if the universe wear a mask?

We gave so much to Christmas trees!
If only we could get some back.

These days were like a diary.
One read them at a guess.
At any page.

I was not born to look three times
In different ways into men's eyes.
Far more ambiguous than song,
The dull, blunt word of "enemy."

I'm now oblivious to the day
When, in the deep Pacific depths.
Of gaping Japanese abyss,
A telegram could tell the class
(What an erudite sea-diver!)
Of workers from the class of Octopi.

My life is no faint-figured draft--
It's something solid teeth will crack on.

So, for a time become immortal,
We're numbered in the face of pines:
From epidemics, plagues, all ills
And death, we're now for once immune.

Creation is as subtly deceptive
As a story with a happy ending.

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