Reissner's Hamburg at the Barricades

Appendix: In Memory of Reissner

by Boris Pasternak

Larissa, now I start to feel regret
That I`m not death or nought compared with it.
I'd like to know how to these scraps of days
Life's chapters without glue so firmly stick.

Oh, how I had that raw material weighed!
Winters slumped back in heaps then downpours swept,
And with a blanket blizzards tightly swathed
Young suckling cities close against their breasts.

People on foot flashed past in wind and rain,
Trucks crawled round the first turn in the road,
Plunged to the neck in water were those years,
In floods across the shallows new ones flowed.

Yet ever more did stubborn life persist
In simmering in its still while nests were built;
Ringed round with street-lamps lay the building sites,
With starlight, words and reason they were filled.

Just look around, which one of us was not
From flakes and hazy reservations made?
For we were reared by some exquisite ruins
While you alone stand far above all praise.

And you alone, so well dislodged by strife,
Burst through in one clenched salve to enthrall.
Had fascination not been known to life,
To answer it you'd be right on the ball.

You billowed up like some tempestuous Grace
Though scarcely lingering in her living fire.
At once lost mediocrity her face,
While imperfection too brought forth your ire.

In depths of legend, heroine, you'll walk,
Along that path your steps shall never fade.
Tower like a mighty peak above my thoughts;
For they are quite at home in your great shade.