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Best Famous Joseph Brodsky Poems

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by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 her lovely cheek.
Next the snapshot of his sister.
He doesn't spare his kin: what's been reached is the highest possible latitude! And like the silk stocking of a burlesque half-nude queen it climbs up his thigh: gangrene.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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, beer smells of Germany and the seaguls are in the air like a page's soiled corners.
Morning enters the premises with a coroner's punctuality, puts its ear to the ribs of a cold radiator, detects sub-zero: the afterlife has to start somewhere.
Correspondingly, the angelic curls grow more blond, the skin gains its distant, lordly white, while the bedding already coils desperately in the basement laundry.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

Tsushima Screen

The perilous blue 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 morecruel than the rest.
Dearest it's more sound to wrap up our sailing round the globe with habitual naval grace moving your cot to the fireplace where our dreadnought is going under in great smoke.
Only fire can grasp a winter! Golder unharnessed stallions in the chimney dye their manes to more corvine shades as they near the finish and the dark room fills with the plaintive incessant chirring of a naked lounging grasshopper one cannot cup in fingers.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 brick wooden rubble which you now arrive to sift.
All our wires were crossed barbed tangled or interwoven.
Also: we didn't love our women but they conceived.
Sharp is the sound of pickax that hurts dead iron still it's gentler that what we've been told or have said ourselves.
Stranger! move carefully through our carrion: what seems carrion to you is freedom to our cells Leave our names alone.
Don't reconstruct those vowels consonants and so forth: they won't resemble larks but a demented bloodhound whose maw devours its own traces feces and barks and barks.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 the sea smiles at his daughter leaving for the East.
A whistle blows.
And the endless sky over the tiles grows bluer as swelling birdsong fills.
And the clearer the song is heard the smaller the bird.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

Seaward

Darling you think it's love it's just a midnightjourney.
Best are the dales and rivers removed by force as from the next compartment throttles "Oh stopit Bernie " yet the rhythm of those paroxysms is exactly yours.
Hook to the meat! Brush to the red-brick dentures alias cigars smokeless like a driven nail! Here the works are fewer than monkey wrenches and the phones are whining dwarfed by to-no-avail.
Bark then with joy at Clancy Fitzgibbon Miller.
Dogs and block letters care how misfortune spells.
Still you can tell yourself in the john by the spat-at mirror slamming the flush and emerging with clean lapels.
Only the liquid furniture cradles the dwindling figure.
Man shouldn't grow in size once he's been portrayed.
Look: what's been left behind is about as meager as what remains ahead.
Hence the horizon's blade.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 to begin with later - features a face.
It was you on my right on my left with your heated sighs who molded my helix whispering at my side.
It was you by that black window's trembling tulle pattern who laid in my raw cavern a voice calling you back.
I was practically blind.
You appearing then hiding gave me my sight and heightened it.
Thus some leave behind a trace.
Thus they make worlds.
Thus having done so at random wastefully they abandon their work to its whirls.
Thus prey to speeds of light heat cold or darkness a sphere in space without markers spins and spins.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 collects the peat and cooks her veggies at home: they shoot here where they eat.
Ah there's more sky in these parts than say ground.
Hence her voice's pitch and her stare stains your retina like a gray bulb when you switch hemispheres and her knee-length quilt skirt's cut to catch the squal I dream of her either loved or killed because the town's too small.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

To Urania To I.K.

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 camel sniffs at the rail with a resentful nostril; a perspective cuts emptiness deep and even.
And what is space anyway if not the body's absence at every given point? That's why Urania's older sister Clio! in daylight or with the soot-rich lantern you see the globe's pate free of any bio you see she hides nothing unlike the latter.
There they are blueberry-laden forests rivers where the folk with bare hands catch sturgeon or the towns in whose soggy phone books you are starring no longer; father eastward surge on brown mountain ranges; wild mares carousing in tall sedge; the cheeckbones get blueer as they turn numerous.
And still farther east steam dreadnoughts or cruisers and the expanse grows blue like lace underwear.


by 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 nowhere winter evening with wine.
A black porch resists an osier's stiff assaults.
Fixed on an elbow the body bulks like a glacier's debris a moraine of sorts.
A millennium hence they'll no doubt expose a fossil bivalve propped behind this gauze cloth with the print of lips under the print of fringe mumbling "Good night" to a window hinge.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 it hardly matters who or what stands in the corner, hidden by heavy drapes, and your mind resounds not with a seraphic "doh", only their rustle.
Life, that no one dares to appraise, like that gift horse's mouth, bares its teeth in a grin at each encounter.
What gets left of a man amounts to a part.
To his spoken part.
To a part of speech.


by 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 nowhere winter evening with wine.
A black porch resists an osier's stiff assaults.
Fixed on an elbow, the body bulks like a glacier's debris, a moraine of sorts.
A millennium hence, they'll no doubt expose a fossil bivalve propped behind this gauze cloth, with the print of lips under the print of fringe, mumbling "Good night" to a window hinge.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 camel sniffs at the rail with a resentful nostril; a perspective cuts emptiness deep and even.
And what is space anyway if not the body's absence at every given point? That's why Urania's older sister Clio! in daylight or with the soot-rich lantern, you see the globe's pate free of any bio, you see she hides nothing, unlike the latter.
There they are, blueberry-laden forests, rivers where the folk with bare hands catch sturgeon or the towns in whose soggy phone books you are starring no longer; father eastward surge on brown mountain ranges; wild mares carousing in tall sedge; the cheeckbones get yellower as they turn numerous.
And still farther east, steam dreadnoughts or cruisers, and the expanse grows blue like lace underwear.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

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 the shabby furniture to some advantage, and that is why sofa of brown leather shone a sort of yellow in a corner.
The table looked bare, the parquet glossy, the stove quite dark, and in a dusty frame a landscape did not stir.
Only the sideboard seemed to me to have some animation.
But a moth flitted round the room, causing my arrested glance to shift; and if at any time a ghost had lived here, he now was gone, abandoning this house.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

I threw my arms about those shoulders...

 Darling, you think it's love, it's just a midnight journey.
Best are the dales and rivers removed by force, as from the next compartment throttles "Oh, stop it, Bernie," yet the rhythm of those paroxysms is exactly yours.
Hook to the meat! Brush to the red-brick dentures, alias cigars, smokeless like a driven nail! Here the works are fewer than monkey wrenches, and the phones are whining, dwarfed by to-no-avail.
Bark, then, with joy at Clancy, Fitzgibbon, Miller.
Dogs and block letters care how misfortune spells.
Still, you can tell yourself in the john by the spat-at mirror, slamming the flush and emerging with clean lapels.
Only the liquid furniture cradles the dwindling figure.
Man shouldn't grow in size once he's been portrayed.
Look: what's been left behind is about as meager as what remains ahead.
Hence the horizon's blade.


by Joseph Brodsky | |

Galatea Encore

 As though the mercury's under its tongue, it won't
talk.
As though with the mercury in its sphincter, immobile, by a leaf-coated pond a statue stands white like a blight of winter.
After such snow, there is nothing indeed: the ins and outs of centuries, pestered heather.
That's what coming full circle means - when your countenance starts to resemble weather, when Pygmalion's vanished.
And you are free to cloud your folds, to bare the navel.
Future at last! That is, bleached debris of a glacier amid the five-lettered "never.
" Hence the routine of a goddess, nee alabaster, that lets roving pupils gorge on the heart of color and the temperature of the knee.
That's what it looks like inside a virgin


by Joseph Brodsky | |

T?rnfallet

 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 her in marriage in a granite parish.
The snow lent her whiteness, a pine was a witness.
She'd swim in the oval lake whose opal mirror, framed by bracken, felt happy, broken.
And at night the stubborn sun of her auburn hair shone from my pillow at post and pillar.
Now in the distance I hear her descant.
She sings "Blue Swallow," but I can't follow.
The evening shadow robs the meadow of width and color.
It's getting colder.
As I lie dying here, I'm eyeing stars.
Here's Venus; no one between us.
.