Boris Pasternak: Dawn

You meant everything in my destiny. 
Then came war, devastation, 
And for a long, long time there was 
No word of you, no breath. 

And after many, many years 
Your voice has stirred me up again. 
All night I read your Testament, 
As if I were reviving from a faint. 

I want to go to people, into the crowd, 
Into their morning animation. 
I’m ready to smash everything to bits 
And put everybody on their knees. 

And I go running down the stairs, 
As if I’m coming out for the first time 
Onto these streets covered with snow 
And these deserted sidewalks. 

Everywhere waking up, lights, warmth, 
They drink tea, hurry for the tram. 
In the course of only a few minutes 
The city’s altered beyond recognition. 

In the gateway the blizzard weaves 
A net of thickly falling flakes, 
And in order to get somewhere on time, 
They drop their breakfast and rush off. 

I feel for them, for all of them, 
As if I were inside their skin, 
I myself melt as the snow melts, 
I myself knit my brows like morning. 

With me are people without names, 
Trees, children, stay-at-homes. 
Over me they are all the victors, 
And in that alone lies my victory. 

Extracted from Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.


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