Get a site

Boris Pasternak – Soul

Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene in ecstasy, 1623

My mournful soul, you, sorrowing
 for all my friends around,
 you have become the burial vault
 of all those hounded down.

Devoting to their memory
 a verse, embalming them,
 in torment, broken, lovingly
 lamenting over them,

in this our mean and selfish time,
 for conscience and for quest
 you stand-a columbarium
 to lay their souls to rest.

The sum of all their agonies
 has bowed you to the ground.
You smell of dust, of death’s decay,
 of morgue and burial mound.

My beggarly, dejected soul,
 you heard and saw your fill;
 remembered all and mixed it well,
 and ground it like a mill.

Continue pounding and compound
 all that I witnessed here
 to graveyard compost, as you did
 for almost forty years.

Anima mia che trepidi
 per quelli che mi attorniano,
 sei diventato il loculo
 dei martoriati vivi.

Imbalsamando i corpi,
 cantandoli in poesia,
 rimpiangendoli tutti
 con singhiozzante lira,

 nel nostro tempo egoistico
 per scrupolo e paura,
 come urna funeraria
 tu ne ospiti le ceneri.

Gli spasimi comuni
 ti hanno prostrata. Odori
 del limo cadaverico
 di tombe e di obitori.

Anima – sepoltura,
 tutto quello che hai visto,
 tritando come macina,
 hai mutato in mistura.

Continua a macinare
 quello che mi
 è accaduto,
 come da quarant’anni,
 nell’uomo di un ossario.