Boris Pasternak

(10 February 1890 - 30 May 1960 / Moscow)

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I used to glorify the poor,
Not simply lofty views expressing:
Their lives alone, I felt, were true,
Devoid of pomp and window-dressing.

No stranger to the manor house,
Its finery and lordly tenor,
I was a friend of down-and-outs,
And shunned the idly sponging manner.

For choosing friendship in the ranks
Of working people, though no rebel,
I had the honour to be stamped
As also one among the rabble.

The state of basements, unadorned,
Of attics with no frills or curtains
Was tangible without pretence
And full of substance, weighty, certain.

And I went bad when rot defaced
Our time, and life became infested,
When grief was censured as disgrace
And all played optimists and yes-men.

My faith in those who seemed my friends
Was broken and our ties were sundered.
I, too, lost Man, the Human, since
He had been lost by all and sundry.

Submitted: Saturday, April 03, 2010

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