Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Boris Pasternak : False Alarm


From early morning-nonsense
With tubs and troughs and strain,
With dampness in the evening
And sunsets in the rain.

Deep sighing of the darkness
And choking back swallowed tears,
A railway-engine's calling
Down from the sixteenth verst.

Outside and in the garden
A short fast-darkening day;
Small breakages and losses
In true September way.

In daytime autumn's vastness
Beyond the stream is rent
By wailing in the graveyard,
By anguish and lament.

But when the widow's sobbing
Is carried from the bank,
With all my blood I'm with her
And see my death point-blank.

As every year I see it
Out of the hall downstairs,
The long-delayed approaching
Of this my final year.

Through leaves in yellow-terror,
Its way swept clear, I see
That winter from the hillside
Is staring down at me.

I usually don't like to add much commentary to a poem but wanted to just say a bit about this one. This is from a book of Pasternak's poetry edited by his sister, Lydia Pasternak Slater. In this she is talking about Boris Pasternak's funeral and the meaning of the lines "That winter from the hillside/Is staring down at me: "No use was made of the official van which came to transport the body; the open coffin was carried shoulder high, all the way from the house, over the field, to the road, over the stream and up to the three tall pine trees on the hillside. This was where he wanted to be buried. There he lies, and the picturesque pine trees look over the stretch of fields to his distant house, at his window, Boris thought his death was staring at him, as he described in one of his poems."

4 comments:

Ricardo said...

You're supposed to say you wrote it yourself. LOL! It's a wonderful poem.

Autumnforest said...

I hope I go in the autumn at full colors (of course, that would be the autumn of 2062)!

Alex Robinson said...

Hi Devin
That reminds me of some lines from another poem that suggest the sadness of Autumn/Fall
"Her songs soft-worded fell like yellow leaves
The trees in Autumn weep"

There is surely a deeper significance to the seasons that we just can't seem to remember, perhaps poetry can help with that.

Best to you & Clemmie always my friend

Devin said...

Hi Ricardo!! I agree it is a wonderful poem -although tempting to say "O look what I wrote":) I think folks would know-and then I would have the shade of the man who wrote Doctor Zhivago chasing me-all the best to you and thanks for stopping by!!

I am hoping for the same Autumnforest for you and me -I would just be 3 years after you! Its hard to imagine what the world will be like (of course saying this i hope there is a world for us to get old in:) thanks as always for stopping by!!

Alex-best to you and your family (and Scamperz and Clark Cat of course:) I agree-and I would give anything if we had a "real" autumn in Arizona!-I can imagine in New Zealand it is gorgeous-best to you as always my friend!!