Boris Pasternak

Night

 Next Poem          

The night proceeds and dwindling
Prepares the day's rebirth.
An airman is ascending
Above the sleeping earth.

And almost disappearing
In cloud, a tiny spark,
He now is like a cross-stitch,
A midget laundry-mark.

Beneath him are strange cities,
And heavy traffic-lanes,
And night-clubs, barracks, stokers,
And railways, stations, trains.

The shadow of his wing-span
Falls heavy on the cloud.
Celestial bodies wander
Around him in a crowd.

And there, with frightful listing
Through emptiness, away
Through unknown solar systems
Revolves the Milky Way.

In limitless expanses
Are headlands burning bright.
In basements and in cellars
The stokers work all night.

And underneath a rooftop
In Paris, maybe Mars
Or Venus sees a notice
About a recent farce.

And maybe in an attic
And under ancient slates
A man sits wakeful, working,
He thinks and broods and waits;

He looks upon the planet,
As if the heavenly spheres
Were part of his entrusted
Nocturnal private cares.

Fight off your sleep: be wakeful,
Work on, keep up your pace,
Keep vigil like the pilot,
Like all the stars in space.

Work on, work on, creator-
To sleep would be a crime-
Eternity's own hostage,
And prisoner of Time.

Next Poem 

 Back to
Boris Pasternak