In my blood there is no Jewish blood. In their
callous rage, all anti-Semites must hate me now as a Jew. For that reason I am a true Russian.
- "Babi Yar"
showing modest reserve
Give me a mystery – just a plain and simple one – a mystery which is diffidence and silence, a slim little, barefoot mystery: give me a mystery – just one!
not properly maintained or cared for
I] do not like poems that resemble hay compressed into a geometrically perfect cube. I like it when the hay,
unkempt, uncombed, with dry berries mixed in it, thrown together gaily and freely, bounces along atop some truck—and more, if there are some lovely and healthy lasses atop the hay—and better yet if the branches catch at the hay, and some of it tumbles to the road.
- Interview with The New York Times, 1986
all future generations
posterity will remember these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage.
- Saturday Review, November 8, 1969
a vague unpleasant emotion in anticipation of a misfortune
Character begins to form at the first pinch of
anxiety about ourselves.
- "There's Something I Often Notice"
worn and broken down by hard use
My beloved will come
And wrap me in her arms.
She will notice the changes
And understand my fears.
Through the black downpour, from night’s gloom,
Forgetting in haste to shut the taxi door,
She will run up the
Flushed with joy and longing.
She will enter soaking wet
She will take my head in her hands,
And her blue fur coat will slip
Happily from the chair onto the floor.
- "My Beloved Will Come"
a large burial chamber, usually above ground
But how do we remove Stalin
From Stalin’s heirs?
- "Stalin's Heirs"
a tower with a light that warns passing ships
Raised on powdered milk,we'll have no faith
beacons any longer, nor mistake
real for fake, or waking for a dream.
Beacons can’t be trusted. Trust instead
the will of your own hand and head.
Again the captain waves his glass,
beacon, turns and cries
'Helmsman! There’s a
beacon. Are you blind?
But Helmsman, with the truer eye
thinks mutiny and grumbles,
- Ballad about False
giving careful attention to detail
It's indispensable, with a misfit's hunger,
to gnaw a verb right down to the bone.
Only one who is by nature from the naked poor
is neither naked nor poor before
- "Disbelief in Yourself is Indispensable"
in a secretive manner
The last exploiter,
opening his toothless mouth,
will gobble the last money
furtively, like a delicacy.
- "Final Faith"