Week 313: Night Wind, by Boris Pasternak

If this poem by the Russian poet Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) is, as I assume, a veiled reference to his problems with the Soviet authorities, then the veil seems quite thin and one is surprised that it sufficed to throw them off the scent, but Pasternak seems to have been more successful than some in treading the difficult line with the censors, and even managed a rather fraught personal relationship with Stalin himself, who apparently decided that he should be treated as some kind of holy fool and left alone, or at least, spared execution.

Night Wind

The village blacks out. The young
Go home from going gay.
The songs and the drunks are silent.
Tomorrow’s an early day.

Only the night wind fumbles
A path bewildered among
The weeds, that brought it home
With the party-going young.

It hangs its head at the door,
No stomach for a fight,
Wondering how to settle
Its argument with night.

Between the garden fences
And trees that crowd the track
Night picks another quarrel
And wind must answer back.

Boris Pasternak (translated by M. Harari)


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