Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Boris Pasternak !

Boris Pasternak @ Youth


Today is the birthday of Russian poet, novelist and literary translator Boris Leonidovich Pasternak. Boris Pasternak (10 February1890–30 May 1960) was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958. Boris Pasternak’s poetry is remarkable for its musicality, and its highly original, vividly impressionistic, associative imagery. Presenting some poems : Being Poet

Confession

Life returned with a cause-the way
Some strange chance once interrupted it.
Just as on that distant summer day,
I am standing in the same old street.

People are the same, and people's worries,
And the sunset's still a fireball,
Just the way death's night once in a hurry
Nailed it to the ancient mansion's wall.

Women, in the same cheap clothes attired,
Are still wearing down their shoes at night.
Afterwards, against the roofing iron
They are by the garrets crucified.

Here is one of them. She looks so weary
As she steps across the threshold, and
Rising from the basement, drab and dreary,
Walks across the courtyard on a slant.

And again I'm ready with excuses,
And again it's all the same to me.
And the neighbour in the backyard pauses,
Then goes out of sight, and leaves us be.

Change

I used to glorify the poor,
Not simply lofty views expressing:
Their lives alone, I felt, were true,
Devoid of pomp and window-dressing.

No stranger to the manor house,
Its finery and lordly tenor,
I was a friend of down-and-outs,
And shunned the idly sponging manner.

For choosing friendship in the ranks
Of working people, though no rebel,
I had the honour to be stamped
As also one among the rabble.

The state of basements, unadorned,
Of attics with no frills or curtains
Was tangible without pretence
And full of substance, weighty, certain.

And I went bad when rot defaced
Our time, and life became infested,
When grief was censured as disgrace
And all played optimists and yes-men.

My faith in those who seemed my friends
Was broken and our ties were sundered.
I, too, lost Man, the Human, since
He had been lost by all and sundry.

Beloved, with the spent and sickly fumes...

Beloved, with the spent and sickly fumes
Of rumour's cinders all the air is filled,
But you are the engrossing lexicon
Of fame mysterious and unrevealed,

And fame it is the soil's strong pull.
Would that I more erect were sprung!
But even so I shall be called
The native son of my own native tongue.

The poets' age no longer sets their rhyme,
Now, in the sweep of country plots and roads,
Lermontov is rhymed with summertime,
And Pushkin rhymes with geese and snow.

And my wish is that when we die,
Our circle closed, and hence depart,
We shall be set in closer rhyme
Than binds the auricle and the heart.

And may our harmony unified
Some listener's muffled ear caress
With all that we do now imbibe,
And shall draw in through mouths of grass.

‘February. Take ink and weep,’

February. Take ink and weep,
write February as you're sobbing,
while black Spring burns deep
through the slush and throbbing.

Take a cab. For a clutch of copecks,
through bell-towers' and wheel noise,
go where the rain-storm's din breaks,
greater than crying or ink employs.

Where rooks in thousands falling,
like charred pears from the skies,
drop down into puddles, bringing
cold grief to the depths of eyes.

Below, the black shows through,
and the wind's furrowed with cries:
the more freely, the more truly
then, sobbing verse is realised.

‘Like a brazier’s bronze cinders,’

Like a brazier's bronze cinders,
the sleepy garden's beetles flowing.
Level with me, and my candle,
a flowering world is hanging.

As if into unprecedented faith,
I cross into this night,
where the poplar's beaten grey
veils the moon's rim from sight.

Where the pond's an open secret,
where apple-trees whisper of waves,
where the garden hanging on piles,
holds the sky before its face.

1918

Stars were racing; waves were washing headlands.
Salt went blind, and tears were slowly drying.
Darkened were the bedrooms; thoughts were racing,
And the Sphinx was listening to the desert.

Candles swam. It seemed that the Colossus'
Blood grew cold; upon his lips was spreading
The blue shadow smile of the Sahara.
With the turning tide the night was waning.

Sea-breeze from Morocco touched the water.
Simooms blew. In snowdrifts snored Archangel.
Candles swam; the rough draft of 'The Prophet'
Slowly dried, and dawn broke on the Ganges

A Dream

I dreamt of autumn in the window's twilight,
And you, a tipsy jesters' throng amidst. '
And like a falcon, having stooped to slaughter,
My heart returned to settle on your wrist.

But time went on, grew old and deaf. Like thawing
Soft ice old silk decayed on easy chairs.
A bloated sunset from the garden painted
The glass with bloody red September tears.

But time grew old and deaf. And you, the loud one,
Quite suddenly were still. This broke a spell.
The dreaming ceased at once, as though in answer
To an abruptly silenced bell.

And I awakened. Dismal as the autumn
The dawn was dark. A stronger wind arose
To chase the racing birchtrees on the skyline,
As from a running cart the streams of straws.

‘My sister – Life’s overflowing today’

My sister - Life's overflowing today,
spring rain shattering itself like glass,
but people with monocles still complain,
and sting, politely, like snakes in the grass.

The elders have their logic of course,
certainly yours is foolish, no doubt:
that eyes and lawns glow lilac in storms,
and sweet perfume blows from the south.

That in May, when traveling you see
the timetable on the Kamyshin line,
the Bible's penned no less magnificently,
while in reading it you're mesmerised.

That sunset has only to show a village,
girls crowding the track as we flee,
and I find that it's not my stop today,
the sun offering its sympathy.

With three splashes the bell swims by,
‘Sorry, not here': its apology's far.
Burning night seeps under the blind,
the steppe plunges, from step to star.

Winking, blinking, sweetly somewhere,
my love, a fata-morgana, sleeps yet,
while, like my heart, splashed on platforms there,
the carriage throws window-light over the steppe.

Autumn Frost

The morning sun shows like a pillar
Of fire through smoke on frosty days.
As on a faulty snap, it cannot
Make out my features in the haze.

The distant trees will hardly see me
Until the sun at last can break
Out of the fog, and flash triumphant
Upon the meadows by the lake.

A passer-by in mist receding
Is recognized when he has passed.
You walk on hoarfrost-covered pathways
As though on mats of plaited bast.

The frost is covered up in gooseflesh,
The air is false like painted cheeks,
The earth is shivering, and sick of
Breathing potato-stalks for weeks.

After The Storm

The air is full of after-thunder freshness,
And everything rejoices and revives.
With the whole outburst of its purple clusters
The lilac drinks the air of paradise.

The gutters overflow; the change of weather
Makes all you see appear alive and new.
Meanwhile the shades of sky are growing lighter,
Beyond the blackest cloud the height is blue.

An artist's hand, with mastery still greater
Wipes dirt and dust off objects in his path.
Reality and life, the past and present,
Emerge transformed out of his colour-bath.

The memory of over half a lifetime
Like swiftly passing thunder dies away.
The century is no more under wardship:
High time to let the future have its say.

It is not revolutions and upheavals
That clear the road to new and better days,
But revelations, lavishness and torments
Of someone's soul, inspired and ablaze.

About These Poems

On winter pavements I will pound
Them down with glistening glass and sun,
Will let the ceiling hear their sound,
Damp corners-read them, one by one.

The attic will repeat my themes
And bow to winter with my lines,
And send leapfrogging to the beams
Bad luck and oddities and signs.

Snow will not monthly sweep and fall
And cover up beginnings, ends.
One day I'll suddenly recall:
The sun exists! Will see new trends,

Will see-the world is not the same;
Then, Christmas jackdaw-like will blink
And with a frosty day explain
What we, my love and I, should think.

The window-halves I'll throw apart,
In muffler from the cold to hide,
And call to children in the yard,
'What century is it outside?'

Who trod a trail towards the door,
The hole blocked up with sleet and snow,
The while I smoked with Byron or
Was having drinks with Edgar Poe?

While known in Darial or hell
Or armoury, as friend, I dipped
Like Lermontov's deep thrill, as well
My life in vermouth as my lips.