He who has compared himself with the eye of a horse
Peers, looks, sees, identifies,
And instantly like molten diamonds
Puddles shine, ice grieves and liquefies.

In lilac mists the backyards drowse,
And depots, logs, leaves, clouds above;
That hooting train, that crunch of watermelon rind,
That timid hand in a perfumed kid glove . . .

All’s ringing, roaring, grinding, breakers’ crash –
And silence all at once, release;
It means he is tiptoeing over pine-needles,
So as not to startle the light sleep of space.

And it means he is counting the grains
In the blasted ears: it means
He has come again to the Daryal Wall,
Accursed and black, from another funeral.

And again Moscow, sweltering, burns,
Far off the deadly sleighbell chimes;
Someone is lost two steps from home
In waist-high snow. The worst of times . . .

For having compared smoke with the Laocoon,
For making a song out of graveyard thistles,
For filling the world with a new sound
Of verse reverberating in new space,

He has been rewarded by a kind of eternal childhood,
With the generosity and brilliance of the stars;
The whole of the earth was his to inherit
And his to share with every human spirit.

– Anna Akhmatova. Boris Pasternak

translated by Stanley Kunitz

Advertisements