Boris Pasternak

(10 February 1890 - 30 May 1960 / Moscow)

The Earth - Poem by Boris Pasternak

Spring bursts violently
into Moscow houses.
Moths flutter about
crawl on summer hats,
and furs hide secretly.

Pots of wallflowers and stock
stand, in the window, just,
of wooden second storeys,
the rooms breathe liberty,
the smell of attics is dust.

The street is friends
with the bleary glass,
and white night and sunset
at one, by the river, pass.

In the passage you’ll know
what’s going on below
and April’s casual flow
of words with drops of thaw.

It’s a thousand stories veiled
in a human sadness,
and twilight along the fence
grows chill with the tale.

Outside, or snug at home
the same fire and hesitation:
everywhere air’s unsure.
The same cut willow twigs,

the same white swell of buds,
at crossroads, windows above,
in streets, and workshop-doors.

Then why does the far horizon weep
in mist, and the soil smell bitter?
After all, it’s my calling, surely,
to see no distance is lonely,
and past the town boundary,
to see that earth doesn’t suffer.

That’s why in early spring
we meet, my friends and I,
and our evenings are – farewell documents,
our gatherings are – testaments,
so the secret stream of suffering
may warm the cold of life.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010

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