Honeybee (parresa22) wrote in ask_me_anything,
Behind the cut are two translations of the same poem, "Winter Night" by Boris Pasternak.



Winter Night
translated by Christopher Barnes

Snow on snow the blizzard blew,
All frontiers enswirling.
A candle on the table stood-
A tallow candle burning.

Like summer midges’ swarming flight,
Towards a candle chasing,
The snowflakes eddied to the light,
Converging on the casement.

And on the pane the blizzard hewed
Its arrows, darks and circles.
A candle on the table stood-
A tallow candle burning.

And shadows settled overhead
Upon the illuminated ceiling,
Dim forms of crossing arms and legs,
Fate’s shadows interlacing.

A pair of shoes slid to the floor
And raised a sudden clatter,
And on her gown the waxen flare
Shed tears that oozed and spattered.

And all was lost in snowy murk,
A pallid, grey-white blurring.
The candle on the table stirred-
A tallow candle burning.

A sudden draught breathed on the flame,
Seductive fires enkindling,
With arms outspread in cruciform
Like two wings of an angel.

All February the blizzard raved,
Yet ever and anon, unchanging,
Candle and table, still remained-
A candle ever flaming.


Winter Night


translated by Edwin Morgan

A snowstorm made the earth tremble
through its whole frame.
A candle-flame upon a table,
only a candle-flame.

Like midges swarming in the summer,
winging to a spark,
the flakes flew in a thick shimmer,
to the window from the dark.

The blizzard blew. Its rime and stubble
clung to the pane.
A candle-flame upon a table,
only a candle-flame.

High up on the bright-lit ceiling
shadows were tossed:
hands crossed-clasped, feet cross-leaning,
fate in a cross.

And two small shoes fell with a clatter
to the floor, useless,
and wax drops from the night-light spattered
weeping upon a dress.

And all things faded, misted, feeble,
a grey-white dream.
A candle flame upon a table,
only a candle-flame.

The candle felt a hidden shaking
blow hot temptation:
wings raised, like an angel’s, taking
a cross-like station.

All February, storm rocked the gable
and found there the same
candle-flame upon a table,
only a candle flame.







Poll #1881923
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 23

The version of Winter Night you preferred was translated by-

View Answers
Edwin Morgan
6 (27.3%)
Christopher Barnes
16 (72.7%)
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