In the Wood

by Boris Pasternak

Boris Pasternak

Blurred by a lilac heat, the meadows:
in the wood, cathedral shadows swirled.
What on earth was left for them to kiss? So
like wax, soft in the fingers, theirs, the world.
There's a dream - you do not sleep, you only
dream you long for sleep: someone's dozing,
two black suns are beating under eyelids,
burning eyelashes, while he's slumbering.
Sunbeams play. Iridescent beetles flow by,
dragon-flies' glass skims over his cheek.
With tiny scintillations, the wood's alive,
like those the clockmakers' tweezers seek.
It seems he slept to the tick of figures,
while in acid, amber ether, over his head,
the hands of a carefully tested clock quiver,
regulated precisely by tremors of heat.
They calibrate, they shake the pines,
scatter the shadow, exhaust and pierce
the darkness of timber raised up high,
in the day's fatigue, on the blue clock-face.
It seems a primal happiness was setting,
it seems the wood was sunk in sunlit dream.
Happy folk don't spend time clock-watching,
but this pair were only sleeping, it seems.

Last updated January 14, 2019