Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Rookie (18 July 1933 / Zima Junction, Siberia)

Pasternak's Grave

Grave, you’re robbed by the railing.
Railing, you’ve cut him off
from the growling trucks, the green pear trees,
the hail of agate-like currants.
From everything,
that in him brimmed over, rushed brashly, spurted,
like sparks beneath frenzied hooves.
Always boisterous being-not bland existence.
And battles, too, were common life.

There were creaking carriage springs and bursts of horses’ snorting,
the peace of ponds and the crunch of crashing ice floes,
the hazardous fervor of bazaars,
the conserving contemplativeness of temples,
the breaking surf of gardens and layers of cities.

A gift-created to bestow more gifts,
now subdued by stones and roots,
he, like a pilgrim, stepped over the crush
for provender and petty crowns.

He went his way, leaving all the fuss to others.
Firm and springy was the stride
of this silver-headed artist
with a sailor’s swarthy cheeks.

In a way Pushkin’s double, willingly and greatly,
even though penned in by grievous griefs,
he was a large, childlike smile
upon the face of the age’s martyr.

And this I know-that tranquil grave
affords no haven for some mourning faces.
For ages it will be a raging magnet
for boys, flowers, seeds, and birds.

Grave, you’re robbed by the railing,
but in the autumn silence I have seen
two pines, like sisters, growing side by side-
one within, the other outside the railing.

And with irrepressible thrusts,
accusing the railing of robbery,
the imprisoned pine holds out her arms
to her unimprisoned sister.

No pruning can hinder it!
Hew them off-branches will grow again.
Those are his arms-it seems to me-
reaching out to embrace both pines and people.

From this earth’s griefs, this earth’s delights,
no railing will isolate any man
who has lived, as he, a reward to others.
On this earth there are still no such railings.

Translated by George Reavey (revised)

Submitted: Saturday, August 18, 2007
Edited: Friday, November 18, 2011

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