Biography of Babette Deutsch
Babette Deutsch (September 22, 1895 – November 13, 1982) was an American poet, critic, translator, and novelist.
Born in New York City, the daughter of Michael and Melanie (Fisher) Deutsch, she matriculated from the Ethical Culture School and Barnard College, graduating in 1917 with a B.A. She published poems in magazines such as the North American Review and the New Republic while she was still a student at Barnard.
In 1946, she received an honorary D. Litt. from Columbia University. On April 29, 1921, Deutsch married Avrahm Yarmolinsky, chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library (1918–1955), also a writer and translator. They had two sons, Adam Yarmolinsky and Michael.
She translated Pushkin's Eugene Onegin into English and also made some of the best English versions of Boris Pasternak's poems.
Babette Deutsch Poems
Her drooping wrist, her arm Move as a swan should move, First singing when death dawns
Two People Eat Honey
Beyond the window the moon may be in riot With the winter night. But your voice having ceased In the room here, silence comes, barefooted,
Hell is not far below, Not black, nor burning, Nor even past returning:
No Moon, No Star
Sky is such softness, is such dark, Mt as the pelt of a black panther is In his den's bight. Under the mat soft black
Into this net of leaves, green as old glass That the sun fondles, trembling like images
Lizard at Pompeii
Little finger of fiery green, it flickers over stone. Waits in a weed's shadow.
Dawn in Wartime
Sunrise tumbling in like a surf, A foam of petals, curling thousands, lightly crumbling Away into light.
Heat urges secret odors from the grass. Blunting the edge of silence, crickets shrill. Wings veer: inane needles of light, and pass.
And there was stormy silence in that city, A silence of the unborn where it moved In darkness, piteous, but without pity,
What do we need for love—a midnight fire Flinging itself by fistfuls up the chimney In soft bright snatches? Do we need the snow,
If you press a stone with your finger, Sir Isaac Newton observed, The finger is also
Content that now the bleeding bone be swept Out of her reach, she lay upon her side. In a blonde void sunk deep, she slept, she slept
It Is There
These are the streets where we walked with war and childhood Like our two shadows behind us, or Before us like one shadow.
If you press a stone with your finger,
Sir Isaac Newton observed,
The finger is also
Pressed by the stone.
But can a woman, pressed by memory's finger,
In the deep night, alone,
Of her softness move
The airy thing
That presses upon her
With the whole weight of love? This
Sir Isaac said nothing of.