May 24, 1980
I have braved, for want of wild beasts, steel cages,
carved my term and nickname on bunks and rafters,
lived by the sea, flashed aces in an oasis,
dined with the-devil-knows-whom, in tails, on truffles.
From the height of a glacier I beheld half a world, the earthly
width. Twice have drowned, thrice let knives rake my nitty-gritty.
Quit the country the bore and nursed me.
Those who forgot me would make a city.
I have waded the steppes that saw yelling Huns in saddles,
worn the clothes nowadays back in fashion in every quarter,
planted rye, tarred the roofs of pigsties and stables,
guzzled everything save dry water.
I've admitted the sentries' third eye into my wet and foul
dreams. Munched the bread of exile; it's stale and warty.
Granted my lungs all sounds except the howl;
switched to a whisper. Now I am forty.
What should I say about my life? That it's long and abhors transparence.
Broken eggs make me grieve; the omelet, though, makes me vomit.
Yet until brown clay has been rammed down my larynx,
only gratitude will be gushing from it.
Joseph Brodsky's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (May 24, 1980 by Joseph Brodsky )
(30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882)
(22 August 1893 - 7 June 1967)
Alfred Lord Tennyson
(6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892)
- A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Christmas Carol, Sara Teasdale
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- A Question, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Ring Out , Wild Bells, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Poem of the Day
- The Day Is Gone, And All Its Sweets Are .., Luo Zhihai
- Picturing, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Flag of peace, gajanan mishra
- Changing Positions, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Elevated Insight, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Teach them to love, Lubinda Lubinda
- Beyond The Ordinary, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- the comical dilemma with commas, Bull Hawking
- Hitler: A Life Immersed in Hypocrisy, Paul Hartal
- Creative Interests, RoseAnn V. Shawiak