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.)

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  • 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?

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