Boris Pasternak: “Venice”
The clatter of a cloudy pane
Awoke me in the small hours.
It hung in a gondola rank
And vacancy weighed on the oars.
The trident of hushed guitars
Was hanging like Scorpio’s stars
Above a marine horizon
Untouched by the smoking sun.
In the domain of the zodiac
The chord was a lonely sound.
Untroubled below by the trident,
The port moved its mists around.
At some time the earth had split off,
Capsized palaces gone to wrack.
A fortress loomed up like a planet;
Like a planet, houses spun back.
And the secret of life without root
I understood as the day surfaced:
My dreams and my eyes had more room
To grope on their own through the mist.
And like the foam of mad blossom
And like the foam of rabid lips
Among glimmering shadows broke loose
The chord that knew no fingertips.
—Boris Pasternak (1914)