Boris Pasternak

Lessons of English

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When Desdemona sang a ditty-
In her last hours among the living-
It wasn't love that she lamented,
And not her star-she mourned a willow.
When Desdemona started singing,
With tears near choking off her voice,
Her evil demon for her evil day
Stored up of weeping rills a choice.

And when Ophelia sang a ballad-
In her last hours among the living-
All dryness of her soul was carried
Aloft by gusts of wind, like cinders.

The day Ophelia started singing,
By bitterness of daydreams jaded,
What trophies did she clutch, when sinking?
A bunch of buttercups and daisies.

Their shoulders stripped of passion's tatters,
They took, their hearts a-quake with fear,
The Universe's chilly baptism-
To stun their loving forms with spheres.

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Boris Pasternak