Boris Pasternak


I never read the novel, the Russians

are long winded, but the movie was:

White as the absence of a side

to take, sharp as a blade cutting

the ice near isolated
spaces sheathed in a wasteland

aswirl with snow. In Russia,

there is always snow.


In a time of horses and sleighs,

sabers, and palaces, the poor
are as always, hungry and cold.

The middle classed and wealthy
remain indifferent except for the quality

and availablity of the best years
for wine. A time of footprints

in snow, rags around the feet,

and starvation. Gas lamps

outside, inside candles mostly.


A brother narrates the telling

of love during wartime
and the changing of the guards.

Scattered families will never
 be reunited, tales of heroes gone

mad, villains escaping a huge

constellation of characters, with only

death defining the tale's end.


Red was for the living, the life

blood of a future empire destined

to fall. Warriors deserting
the front lines to go home

to find the Czar dead,
and a newer order with newer

chains and more inventive ways

to starve or cough. The latest fashion

was the renaming of cities

with Revolutionary names. Red

became a color of a heart pulsing,

spilling on ground frozen over

with thousands of corpses to be found

come the spring thaw.


The soldiers singing, “Death comes

when it comes. It has no appetite

for breathing.” The flag's color made

little difference to most Russians, really.

Finally, the winners won.


Balalaika playing was hereditary

and encouraged until dams full

of flowing notes filled the crisp spring

air. As the Director declared, an aging

uncle watched beneath heavy gray

with experience brows as another

generation of soldiers, the legacy

of apolitical and unknown parents,

set to the tasks of running

the temporary peace.






Author's Notes/Comments: 

Zhivago was a famous poet. His times consumed him. 

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Starward's picture

That is a great summary.  I

That is a great summary.  I first saw the movie when I was eleven or so, and read the novel seven years later.  I think Pasternak could have cut some of the text, and lost control of the story as the novel nears its conclusion.  The movie is a much better interpretation, and I think its primary metaphor, for me at least, is when the refugees train is sidetracked to allow Strelnikof's red locomotive and its armed battle carriages to plow through at high speed.  That is what the revolution was about---plowing through at high speed.  The movie did fail to bring out the supreme tragedy of the murder pf the czar's family.


[* /+/ ^]

allets's picture

History On Steroids

I have never read much Russian history except in Lenin bios and We The Living. All romanticized. ~S~

Lady A


georgeschaefer's picture

Almost as epic as many of the

Almost as epic as many of the old 19th century Russian novels.

allets's picture

I Admit

Have not read the Russians. TV and movie expisure only. I cracked 1 of 2 volumes of my archipelago. Loooooog! 

Lady A


9inety's picture


tell ya, Stella, I love your stuff...

Soon, I'll elaborate more...

I've run out of time today

Got get too bed, got to work the midnight shift...




"One of the best results of life, is the torment of love"

Dylan Eliot

allets's picture

U R So Kind

Thanks for the nice comment ~~A~~

Lady A