“Winter Night”

“Winter Night”

Winter Night by Boris Pasternak

It snowed and snowed ,the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

As during summer midges swarm
To beat their wings against a flame
Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed
To beat against the window pane

The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling:
Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.

Two tiny shoes fell to the floor
And thudded.
A candle on a nightstand shed wax tears
Upon a dress.

All things vanished within
The snowy murk-white,hoary.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

A corner draft fluttered the flame
And the white fever of temptation
Upswept its angel wings that cast
A cruciform shadow

It snowed hard throughout the month
Of February, and almost constantly
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

***************
This poem is written by Yuri Zhivago, Pasternak’s title character. Aside from the penultimate stanza which, I think, adds nothing to the poem but an overlay of murkiness where everything else is factual observation, this poem is excellent. I like the incessant, tedious candle burning. It makes the seemingly endlessness of winter and is the focal point of the poem. The candle burns “almost constantly” throughout the sweeping snow storm. The repeated words, “A candle burned on the table; / A candle burned” become an incantation for the sameness of winter and provides a sense of statis–even entrapment.

Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry

One thought on ““Winter Night””

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