Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian language poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak's anthology My Sister Life, is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language. Furthermore, Pasternak's theatrical translations of Goethe, Schiller, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and William Shakespeare remain deeply popular with Russian audiences.
Outside Russia, Pasternak is best known for authoring Doctor Zhivago, a novel which spans the last years of Czarist Russia and the earliest days of the Soviet Union. Banned in the USSR, Doctor Zhivago was smuggled to Milan and published in 1957. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Boris Pasternak Poems
It snowed and snowed ,the whole world over, Snow swept the world from end to end. A candle burned on the table; A candle burned.
I dreamt of autumn in the window's twilight, And you, a tipsy jesters' throng amidst. ' And like a falcon, having stooped to slaughter,
I have allowed my family to scatter, All those who were my dearest to depart, And once again an age-long loneliness
The sun is hotter than the top ledge in a steam bath; The ravine, crazed, is rampaging below. Spring -- that corn-fed, husky milkmaid -- Is busy at her chores with never a letup.
After The Storm
The air is full of after-thunder freshness, And everything rejoices and revives. With the whole outburst of its purple clusters
Beneath the willow wound round with ivy we take cover from the worst of the storm, with a greatcoat round our shoulders and my hands around your waist.
‘february. Take Ink And Weep,’
February. Take ink and weep, write February as you’re sobbing, while black Spring burns deep through the slush and throbbing.
The murmurs ebb; onto the stage I enter. I am trying, standing in the door, To discover in the distant echoes
I used to glorify the poor, Not simply lofty views expressing: Their lives alone, I felt, were true, Devoid of pomp and window-dressing.
This was its promise, held to faithfully: The early morning sun came in this way Until the angle of its saffron beam
Life returned with a cause-the way Some strange chance once interrupted it. Just as on that distant summer day,
When, having finished, I shall move my armchair, The page will gasp, awakened from the strain. Delirious, she is half asleep at present,
A Walts With A Tear In It
Ah, how I love it in these first few days, Fresh from the forest and out of the snow, Awkwardness obvious still in every bough,
When Passion week started and Jesus Came down to the city, that day Hosannahs burst out at his entry And palm leaves were strewn in his way.
Quotationsmore quotations »
''No deep and strong feeling, such as we may come across here and there in the world, is unmixed with compassion. The more we love, the more the object of our love seems to us to be a victim.''Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Doctor Zhivago, ch. 12, sct. 7 (1957).
''As far as modern writing is concerned, it is rarely rewarding to translate it, although it might be easy.... Translation is very much like copying paintings.''Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963). "The onl...
''It is no longer possible for lyric poetry to express the immensity of our experience. Life has grown too cumbersome, too complicated. We have acquired values which are best expressed in prose.''Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
''That's metaphysics, my dear fellow. It's forbidden me by my doctor, my stomach won't take it.''Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Ivan Ivanovich, in Doctor Zhivago, ch. 1, sct. 5 (1957).
What is history? Its beginning is that of the centuries of systematic work devoted to the solution of the enigma of death, so that death itself may eventually be overcome. That is why people write sym...Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Nikolay Nikolayevich, in Doctor Zhivago, ch. 1, sect. 5 (1957).
It snowed and snowed ,the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
As during summer midges swarm
To beat their wings against a flame
Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed
To beat against the window pane
The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling:
Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.
Two tiny shoes fell to the floor