Boris Pasternak

The Patient's Sweater

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






A life of its own and a long one is led
By this penguin, with nothing to do with the breast-
The wingless pullover, the patient's old vest;
Now pass it some warmth, move the lamp to the bed.

It dreams of the skiing; in darkness it poured
From shaftbows, from harness, from bodies; it seemed
That Christmas itself also sweated and snored;
The walking, the riding-all squeaked and all steamed.

A homestead, and horror and bareness beside,
Cut-glass in the sideboards, and carpets and chests;
The house was inflamed; this attracted the fence;
The lights swam in pleurisy, seen from outside.

Consumed by the sky, bloated shrubs on the way
Were white as a scare and had ice in their looks.
The blaze from the kitchen laid down by the sleigh
On the snow the enormous hands of the cooks.

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