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PASTERNAK, Boris


Hamlet

The murmurs ebb; onto the stage I enter.

I am trying, standing at the door,

To discover in the distant echoes

What the coming years may hold in store.

The nocturnal darkness with a thousand

Binoculars is focused onto me.

Take away this cup, O Abba, Father,

Everything is possible to Thee.

I am fond of this Thy stubborn project,

And to play my part I am content.

But another drama is in progress,

And, this once, O let me be exempt.

But the plan of action is determined,

And the end irrevocably sealed.

I am alone; all round me drowns in falsehood:

Life is not a walk across a field.


About These Poems

On winter pavements I will pound

Them down with glistening glass and sun,

Will let the ceiling hear their sound,

Damp corners-read them, one by one.

The attic will repeat my themes

And bow to winter with my lines,

And send leapfrogging to the beams

Bad luck and oddities and signs.

Snow will not monthly sweep and fall

And cover up beginnings, ends.

One day I'll suddenly recall:

The sun exists! Will see new trends,

Will see-the world is not the same;

Then, Christmas jackdaw-like will blink

And with a frosty day explain

What we, my love and I, should think.

The window-halves I'll throw apart,

In muffler from the cold to hide,

And call to children in the yard,

'What century is it outside?'

Who trod a trail towards the door,

The hole blocked up with sleet and snow,

The while I smoked with Byron or

Was having drinks with Edgar Poe?

While known in Darial or hell

Or armoury, as friend, I dipped

Like Lermontov's deep thrill, as well

My life in vermouth as my lips.