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In everything I seek to grasp...

Boris Pasternak 1890 (Moscow) – 1960 (Peredelkino)



In everything I seek to grasp
The fundamental:
The daily choice, the daily task,
The sentimental.

To plumb the essence of the past,
The first foundations,
The crux, the roots, the inmost hearts,
The explanations.

And, puzzling out the weave of fate,
Events observer,
To live, feel, love and meditate
And to discover.

Oh, if my skill did but suffice
After a fashion,
In eight lines I'd anatomize
The parts of passion.

I'd write of sins, forbidden fruit,
Of chance-seized shadows;
Of hasty flight and hot pursuit,
Of palms, of elbows.

Define its laws and origin
In terms judicial,
Repeat the names it glories in,
And the initials.

I'd sinews strain my verse to shape
Like a trim garden:
The limes should blossom down the nape,
A double cordon.

My verse should breathe the fresh-clipped hedge,
Roses and meadows
And mint and new-mown hay and sedge,
The thunder's bellows.

As Chopin once in his etudes
Miraculously conjured
Parks, groves, graves and solitudes-
A living wonder.

The moment of achievement caught
Twixt sport and torment…
A singing bowstring shuddering taut,
A stubborn bow bent.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Boris Pasternak

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator. more…

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