No Comment — March 10, 2008, 6:17 am

Pasternak’s ‘Black February’

mikhail_nesterov_001

???????. ??????? ?????? ? ???????!
?????? ? ??????? ???????,
???? ?????????? ???????
?????? ?????? ?????.

??????? ????????. ?? ????? ??????,
???? ?????????, ???? ???? ?????
??????????? ????, ??? ??????
??? ?????? ?????? ? ????.

???, ??? ?????????? ?????,
? ???????? ?????? ??????
???????? ? ???? ? ???????
????? ?????? ?? ??? ????.

??? ??? ????????? ???????,
? ????? ??????? ?????,
? ??? ?????????, ??? ??????
????????? ????? ???????.


Black spring! Pick up your pen, and weeping,
Of February, in sobs and ink,
Write poems, while the slush in thunder
Is burning in the black of spring.

Through clanking wheels, through church bells ringing
A hired cab will take you where
The town has ended, where the showers
Are louder still than ink and tears.

Where rooks, like charred pears, from the branches
In thousands break away, and sweep
Into the melting snow, instilling
Dry sadness into eyes that weep.

Beneath — the earth is black in puddles,
The wind with croaking screeches throbs,
And–the more randomly, the surer
Poems are forming out of sobs.

Boris Pasternak, ???????. ??????? ?????? ? ???????! (1912) (Lydia Pasternak Slater transl.)

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

  • Angel

    How was this translated? I have pieced together from other translations (everyone seems to translate it different somehow)

    February. Get ink, shed tears.
    Write of it, sob your heart out, sing,
    While the torrential slush that roars
    Burns in the blackness of the spring.

    Go hire a buggy. For six grivnas,
    Race through the noise of bells and wheels
    To where the ink and all you grieving
    Are muffled when the rain shower falls.

    Where rooks in thousands falling,
    like charred pears from the skies,
    drop down into puddles, bringing
    cold grief to the depths of eyes.

    Below, the wet black earth shows through,
    With sudden cries the wind is pitted,
    The more haphazard, the more true
    The poetry that sobs its heart out.

    Boris Pasternak 1912

    It sounds like it could have been written about deaths (maybe from a war or just maybe peasants were dying from a harsh winter?)

    How can I find the actual translation? and maybe even the meaning/background for the poem?

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2015

Black Hat, White Hat

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beyond the Broken Window

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Search of a Stolen Fiddle

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Displaced in the D.R.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quietest Place in the Universe

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“Don sucked the last of his drink through his straw and licked his lips. 'The coast, to me, is more interesting than the valley.'”
Photograph by the author
Article
Fred Morton, who died this week in Vienna, at the age of 90, was a longtime contributor to Harper's Magazine and a good friend. "Othello's Son," which was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2013, appeared in our September 2013 issue.
Photograph © Alex Gotfryd/CORBIS
Article
Beyond the Broken Window·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“By the time Bratton left the department, in 2009, Los Angeles had quietly become the most spied-on city in America.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Displaced in the D.R.·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“How is it possible that my birth certificate is invalid if I was born here?”
Photograph by Pierre Michel Jean
Article
The Quietest Place in the Universe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Gaitskell and his colleagues are approaching the revelation of a new order, a new universe, in which even light will be known differently, and darkness as well.”
Painting by Sebastiaan Bremer

Number of African countries with vaccination rates higher than that of the United States:

16

Iowa urologists reported that only a minor portion of locker-room teasing arises from “the presence of excess foreskin”; most teasing targets small penises.

A farmer in Surrey, England, was ordered by the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to tear down his cannon-equipped castle, which he had built secretly and then concealed behind hay bales.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today