Boris Pasternak

(10 February 1890 - 30 May 1960 / Moscow)

Three Variants - Poem by Boris Pasternak


When in front of you hangs the day with its
Smallest detail-fine or crude-
The intensely hot cracking squirrel-sounds
Do not cease in the resinous wood.

The high line of pine-trees stands asleep,
Drinking in and storing strength,
And the wood is peeling and drip by drip
Is shedding freckled sweat.


From miles of calm the garden sickens,
The stupor of the angered glen
Is more alarming than an evil
Wild storm, a frightful hurricane.

The garden's mouth is dry, and smells of
Decay, of nettles, roofing, fear…
The cattle's bellowing is closing
Its ranks. A thunderstorm is near.


On the bushes grow the tatters
Of disrupted clouds; the garden
Has its mouth full of damp nettles:
Such - the smell of storms and treasures.

Tired shrubs are sick of sighing.
Patches in the sky increase. The
Barefoot blueness has the gait of
Cautious herons in the marshes.

And they gleam, like lips that glisten,
When the hand forgets to wipe them:
Supple willow-switches, oak-leaves,
And the hoofprints by the horsepond.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 3, 2010

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