Sunset and Night in the Forest


Arkhip Kuindzhi. ‘Sunset in the Forest’. Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

Here is my translation of a poem by Boris Pasternak. It was written in 1912 and is one of the earliest he published. It is one of the fourteen poems written between 1912 and 1914 and included in the series entitled ‘Pechal’naya Pora’, or ‘Time of Sorrows’. I have not attempted to replicate Pasternak’s use of rhyme or meter here. Both are quite regular in the original.


The drowsy garden is strewn with fireflies,
As with the bronzen embers of hearths.
With me, on a level with my light,
Whole teeming worlds hang.

As if into some unheard of faith,
I stride into this night,
Where a decrepit and greying poplar
Has curtained the lunar line,

Where the pond is an open secret,
Where the apple trees whisper like surf,
Where the garden floats like a dwelling upon piles
And before itself bears the sky. 


Как бронзовой золой жаровень,
Жуками сыплет сонный сад.
Со мной, с моей свечою вровень
Миры расцветшие висят.

И, как в неслыханную веру,
Я в эту ночь перехожу,
Где тополь обветшало-серый
Завесил лунную межу.

Где пруд – как явленная тайна,
Где шепчет яблони прибой,
Где сад висит постройкой свайной
И держит небо пред собой.


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