A wonderful little site featuring the poetry of Boris Pasternak, author of one of my favorite novels, Doctor Zhivago. Pasternak was first and foremost a poet, and he was very popular in his lifetime. He based Zhivago on his own life, antipathy to Bolshevism and his extramarital affair with Olga Ivinskaya, the prototype for Zhivago’s doomed lover Lara.
It’s with your laughing picture that I’m living now,
You whose wrists are so slender and crackle at the joints,
You who wring your hands yet are unwilling to go,
You whose guests stay for hours sharing sadness and joys.
You who’ll run from the cards and Rakoczy bravura,
From the glass of the drawing-room and from the guests
To the keyboard on fire, unable to endure
Bones and roses and dice and rosettes and the rest.
You will fluff up your hair, and a reckless tea-rose,
Smelling of cigarettes, pin to your bright-red sash,
And then waltz to your glory, your sadness and woes
Tossing off like a scarf, beaming, breathless and flushed.
You will crumple the skin of an orange and swallow
Cooling morsels again and again in your haste
To return to the hall, to the whirling and mellow
Lights, and air with the sweet sweat of fresh waltzes laced.
Defying steam and scorching breath
The way a whirlwind dies,
The way a murid faces death
With wide unflinching eyes.
Know all: not mountains’ noise and hush,
And not a purebred steed-
The reckless roses in your sash
Are riding at full speed.
No, not the clatter of the hoofs
And not the mountains’ hush,
But only she who stands aloof
With flowers in her sash.
And only that is really It
What makes our ears ring,
And what the whirlwind-chasing feet,
Soul, tulle and silk sash bring.
Until sides split the jokes are cracked,
We’re rolling in the aisles,
The envy of the romping sacks-
Until somebody cries.