It's February. Weeping take ink.
Find words in a sobbing rush
For February, while black spring
Burns through the rumbling slush.
And take a cab. Ride for a rouble
Through wheel racket and bell's throbbing
To where the downpour makes more din
Than the sound of ink and sobbing;
Where rooks in thousands, like charred pears
Windfallen from their branching skies,
Drop into puddles and bring down
Desolution into deep eyes.
Thawed patches underneath show black,
The wind is furrowed with cries, and then,
The more suddenly the more surely,
Verses sob from the pen.
By Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к
(Boris Leonidovich Pasternak)
translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France
A childhood memory: those pears,
wrinkled. little, tight,
and hidden inside –
tart flesh that puckered the mouth:
exactly so my delight
in the bitter shards of your verse.
by София Яковлевна Парнок (Sophia Yakovlena Parnok) (1927)
translated by Catriona Kelly
Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows –
Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower,
-Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889)