Boris Pasternak: Easter

There’s still the twilight of the night.
The world’s so young in its proceeding,
That countless stars in the sky abide,
And each one, like the day, is bright
And if the Earth could so decide,
She’d sleep through Easter in delight,
Hearing the Psalter reading.

There’s still the twilight of the night.
It’s far too early. It appears,
That fields eternally subside,
Across the crossroad, to the side,
And till the sunrise and the light,
There is a thousand years.

The naked earth appeared deprived,
It had no clothes to wear
To strike the church bells in the night
Or echo choirs in the air.

And from the Maundy Thursday night
Right through the Easter Eve,
The water bored the coastal side
And whirlpools heaved.

The forest, naked and exposed,
To celebrate the holy times,
As though in prayer, humbly rose,
In congregated trunks of pines.

And in the city, in one place,
Their gathering commenced.
The naked trees sincerely gazed
Above the Church’s fence.

Their eyes were overflowed by rage,
And their concern was heard.
The gardens slowly left their cage,
The earth shook wildly in its range,
While burying the Lord.

A light is seen that dimly glows,
Black kerchiefs and long candle rows,
And weeping eyes--
And suddenly, there’s a procession,
Bearing the sacred shroud of Christ
And every birch, with a concession,
Along the entrance subsides.

They walk around the royal square,
Along the sidewalk’s edge.
Into the vestibule with care,
They bring the spring and springtime flair,
A scent of Eucharist in the air
And vernal rage.

And March is tossing snow around
To beggars gathered on Church ground,
As though a person just walked out,
Opened the shrine, took what he found
And gave it all away.

The singing lasts throughout the night.
Once they have wept enough, at last, they
Walk humbly, quietly outside,
Onto the street, under the light,
To read the Psalter or Apostles.

But after midnight, all will quiet,
To hear the rumor of the hour,
That if we wait for just a while,
His death won’t last, if we defy it
With resurrection’s power.

1946

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