February. Get ink and weep! Burst into sobs – to write and write of February, while thundering slush burns like black spring.
For half a rouble hire a cab, ride through chimes and the wheel's cry to where the drenching rain is black, louder than tears or ink -
where like thousands of charred pears rooks will come tearing out of trees straight into puddles, an avalanche, dry grief to the ground of eyes.
Beneath it – blackening spots of thaw, and all the wind is holed by shouts, and poems – the randomer the truer - take form, as sobs burst out.
By Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к (Boris Leonidovich Pasternak) (1913) translated by Angela Livingstone
An alternate to Jon Stallworthy and Peter France’s translation of the poem ‘It’s February. Weeping take ink!‘ provided elsewhere on this site. The Original doesn’t have a specific title and is usually referred to by it’s first line, as is the case with many untitled poems, but my source for this translation titled it as ‘February’. Also of note this translation gives the date as 1913 but my research of Russian sources all agree to it being published, or at least written, in 1912. The discrepancy may be due to the date it was initially published in a collection of poetry or journal possibly.
A recital of the Russian version read by Sergei Yursky (a Russian actor who died on 8th February this year sadly) set to music by Chopin:
The original Russian Cyrillic version of the poem:
Февраль. Достать чернил и плакать! Писать о феврале навзрыд, Пока грохочущая слякоть Весною черною горит.
Достать пролетку. За шесть гривен, Чрез благовест, чрез клик колес, Перенестись туда, где ливень Еще шумней чернил и слез.
Где, как обугленные груши, С деревьев тысячи грачей Сорвутся в лужи и обрушат Сухую грусть на дно очей.
Под ней проталины чернеют, И ветер криками изрыт, И чем случайней, тем вернее Слагаются стихи навзрыд.
by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)
translated by Boris Dralyuk
Fun fact: Such an exchange did occur between Konstanin Batyushkov and his doctor and in his poem ‘For The Tombstone of a Little Girl’ he imagined a dead baby saying to her parents ‘Dear ones, don’t cry! / Envy my ephemerality; / I did not know this life, / And know eternity’ (translation by Peter France).