Guest poem submitted by Suresh Ramasubramanian:
(Poem #419) March
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. The snow is wasting (pernicious anemia -- See those branching veinlets of impotent blue?) Yet in the cowbarn life is burbling, steaming, And the tines of pitchforks simply glow with health. These days -- these days, and these nights also! With eavesdrop thrumming its tattoos at noon, With icicles (cachectic!) hanging on to gables, And with the chattering of rills that never sleep! All doors are flung open -- in stable and in cowbarn; Pigeons peck at oats fallen in the snow; And the culprit of all this and its life-begetter-- The pile of manure -- is pungent with ozone.
(attributed to Yurii Andreivich Zhivago). Translation has rendered this poem (originally written in Russian, like the classic novel in which it appeared) into blank verse. It still retains much of its original beauty. The unusual imagery is what grabbed me - contrasting winter (disease and suffering) with spring (health, youth). It is a metaphor for the whole book, I feel. Zhivago's poems are all listed as an appendix (and there is a long note by Pasternak in the middle of the text about how Zhivago's poems evolve in style - from long, rambling blank verse to short, sharp poems with a staccato rhythm, just three words to a line). They also reflect his changing moods and fortunes. On the whole, Zhivago is an excellent book, and the poems at the end are the icing on the cake. Every time I read the book (and the poems) I keep hearing "Lara's Theme" from the David Lean movie. Everything comes together into one glorious whole. Suresh.