Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Soviet-Russian-American poet and essayist. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 for alleged "social parasitism" and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters. He taught thereafter at universities including those at Yale, Cambridge and Michigan. Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity". He was appointed American Poet Laureate in 1991.. Russian poet and essayist
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 truffles.
From the height of a glacier I beheld half a world, the earthly width. Twice have drowned, thrice let knives rake my nitty-gritty.
Quit the country the bore and nursed me.
Those who forgot me would make a city.
I have waded the steppes that saw yelling Huns in saddles, worn the clothes nowadays back in fashion in every quarter, planted rye, tarred the roofs of pigsties and stables, guzzled everything save dry water. I've admitted the sentries' third eye into my wet and foul dreams. Munched the bread of exile; it's stale and warty.
Granted my lungs all sounds except the howl;
switched to a whisper. Now I am forty.
What should I say about my life? That it's long and abhors transparence.
Broken eggs make me grieve; the omelette, though, makes me vomit.
Yet until brown clay has been rammed down my larynx,
only gratitude will be gushing from it.