by Boris Pasternak
By water's edge, quiet willows stand,
And from the steep bank, high noon flings
White fleecy clouds into the pond
As if they were a fisher's seines.
The firmament sinks like a net,
A crowd of sunburnt bathers dive
With yells into the pond, and head
For this elusive netlike sky.
Some women from the water rise
Under the scanty willows' lee,
And stepping on the sand, wring dry
Their bathing costumes hurriedly.
The coils of fabric twist and slide
Like water-snakes, and nimbly roll,
As if the dripping garments hide
Beguiling serpents in their folds.
0 woman, neither looks nor shape
Will nonplus me or make me gloat.
You, all of you, are like a lump
In my excitement-stricken throat.
You look as if hewn in the rough-
A stray verse line dashed off ad lib.
You make me think it is the truth-
That you were made out of my rib.
And instantly you broke away
From my embrace, and moved apart,
All fear, confusion, disarray-
And missing beats of a man's heart.
Last updated January 14, 2019