Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Boris Pasternak: In Memory of Marina Tsvetaeva




Dismal day, with the weather inclement.
Inconsolably rivulets run
Down the porch in front of the doorway;
Through my wide-open windows they come.

But behind the old fence on the roadside,
See, the public gardens are flooded.
Like wild beasts in a den, the rainclouds
Sprawl about in shaggy disorder.

In such weather, I dream of a volume
On the beauties of Earth in our age,
And I draw an imp of the forest
Just for you on the title-page.

Oh, Marina, I'd find it no burden,
And the time has been long overdue:
Your sad clay should be brought from Yelabuga
By a requiem written for you.

All the triumph of your homecoming
I considered last year in a place
Near a snow-covered bend in the river
Where boats winter, locked in the ice.

What can I do to be of service?
Convey somehow your own request,
For in the silence of your going
There's a reproach left unexpressed.

A loss is always enigmatic.
I hunt for clues to no avail,
And rack my brains in fruitless torment:
Death has no lineaments at all.

Words left half-spoken, self-deception,
Promises, shadows-all are vain,
And only faith in resurrection
Can give the semblance of a sign.

Step out into the open country:
Winter's a sumptuous funeral wake.
Add currants to the dusk, then wine,
And there you have your funeral cake.

The apple-tree stands in a snowdrift
Outside. All this year long, to me,
The snow-clad city's been a massive
Monument to your memory.

With your face turned to meet your Maker.
You yearn for Him from here on Earth,
As in the days when those upon it
Were yet to appreciate your worth.

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