Boris Pasternak

(10 February 1890 - 30 May 1960 / Moscow)

The Steppe - Poem by Boris Pasternak

How lovely those journeys into quiet!
Boundless the steppe, like a seascape,
ants rustle, and the feather-grass sighs,
mosquitoes go whining through space.

The hayricks line up with the clouds,
volcano after volcano, they fade.
Grown silent, damp, the boundless steppe,
you drift, you’re buffeted, you sway.

The mist overtakes us, washes, a sea,
and burrs are clinging to stockings, today
it’s lovely to tramp the steppe’s shore,
you drift, you’re buffeted, you sway.

Is that a rick in the mist? Who knows?
Is that one ours? Yes, it’s found.
There! Yes, that’s it all right, though.
The rick, and the mist, and the steppe all round.

And the Milky Way slants towards Kerch,
like a path that cattle have stamped on.
Go past the houses, you’ll lose your breath,
on every side, broad, broad horizons.

Shadowy midnight stands by the way,
strewn with stars, that touch every verst,
and you can’t cross it, beyond the fence,
without trampling the universe.

When did the stars sweep down so low,
midnight sink so deep in tall grass,
and drenched muslin, afraid, aglow,
long for a dénouement at last?

Let the steppe judge, and night decide.
When, if not in the Beginning,
did Mosquitoes whine, Ants ride,
and Burrs go clinging to stockings?

Close them, my darling! Or go blind!
The whole steppe’s as before the Fall:
All, drowned in peace, like a parachute,
like a heaving vision, All.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010

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