High-handed spring barges right into
The stateliest Moscow houses.
Moths flutter out when one opens closets
And start crawling over summer headgear.
The ledges of high wooden garrets
Put forth their vernal flowerpots
Of gillyflowers and wallflowers;
Rooms flaunt a free-and-easy air
And attics smell of dust.
Streets are on hail-fellow-well-met terms
With each and every purblind window.
White night and sunset, by the river,
Just can’t, somehow, pass each other.
And you can hear inside the hallway
What’s going on out in the open,
Or overhear the eavesdrop talking
By chance with April (which month has
Thousands and thousands of true stories
That have to do with mankind’s woes).
Dawnglows and evenglows congeal on fences,
Dawdling and shirking at their tasks.
The selfsame blend of fire and eeriness
Prevails outside and in snug dwelling.
Everywhere the air is not its own self.
The selfsame pussywillow twigs interlace,
The selfsame white buds beget their swellings,
Whether on window sill or at crossroads,
Whether in the street or in a workshop.
Why, then, does the distance weep in a mist
And humus have so sharp an odor?
For that’s just what my calling’s for-
To keep the vistas from being bored,
To keep the land beyond the city
From pining by its lonely self.
That is the reason my friends gather
To be with me in early spring
And why our evenings serve as farewells
And our little feasts as testaments,
So that the secret stream of sorrow
May impart some warmth to the chill of being.