Joseph Brodsky

A list of some observation

A list of some observation. In a corner, it’s warm. A glance leaves an imprint on anything it’s dwelt on. Water is glass’s most public form. Man is more frightening than its skeleton. A

A Polar Explorer

All the huskies are eaten. There is no space Left in the diary, And the beads of quick Words scatter over his spouse’s sepia-shaded face Adding the date in question like a mole to

Letter to an Archaeologist

Citizen, enemy, mama’s boy, sucker, utter Garbage, panhandler, swine, refujew, verrucht; A scalp so often scalded with boiling water That the puny brain feels completely cooked. Yes, we have dwelt here: in this concrete,


There is a meadow in Sweden Where I lie smitten, Eyes stained with clouds’ White ins and outs. And about that meadow Roams my widow Plaiting a clover Wreath for her lover. I took

Belfast Tune

Here’s a girl from a dangerous town She crops her dark hair short so that less of her has to frown when someine gets hurt. She folds her memories like a parachute. Dropped, she

May 24, 1980

I have braved, for want of wild beasts, steel cages, Carved my term and nickname on bunks and rafters, Lived by the sea, flashed aces in an oasis, Dined with the-devil-knows-whom, in tails, on


It’s not that the Muse feels like clamming up, It’s more like high time for the lad’s last nap. And the scarf-waving lass who wished him the best Drives a steamroller across his chest.

Part Of Speech

…and when “the future” is uttered, swarms of mice Rush out of the Russian language and gnaw a piece Of ripened memory which is twice As hole-ridden as real cheese. After all these years

Seven Strophes

I was but what you’d brush With your palm, what your leaning Brow would hunch to in evening’s Raven-black hush. I was but what your gaze In that dark could distinguish: A dim shape

I threw my arms about those shoulders

I threw my arms about those shoulders, glancing At what emerged behind that back, And saw a chair pushed slightly forward, Merging now with the lighted wall. The lamp glared too bright to show

I Sit By The Window

I said fate plays a game without a score, And who needs fish if you’ve got caviar? The triumph of the Gothic style would come to pass And turn you on no need for

Stone Villages

The stone-built villages of England. A cathedral bottled in a pub window. Cows dispersed across fields. Monuments to kings. A man in a moth-eaten suit Sees a train off, heading, like everything here, for

Tsushima Screen

The perilous yellow sun follows with its slant eyes Masts of the shuddered grove steaming up to capsize In the frozen straits of Epiphany. February has fewer Days than the other months; therefore, it’s

Dutch Mistress

A hotel in whose ledgers departures are more prominent than arrivals. With wet Koh-i-noors the October rain Strokes what’s left of the naked brain. In this country laid flat for the sake of rivers,

To Urania

Everything has its limit, including sorrow. A windowpane stalls a stare. Nor does a grill abandon A leaf. One may rattle the keys, gurgle down a swallow. Loneless cubes a man at random. A
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