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Joseph Brodsky Poems

A collection of select Joseph Brodsky famous poems that were written by Joseph Brodsky or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More



by Brodsky, Joseph
 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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More



by Brodsky, Joseph
About a year has passed. I've returned to the place of the battle 
to its birds that have learned their unfolding of wings
from a subtle
lift of a surprised eyebrow or perhaps from a razor blade
- wings now the shade of early twilight now of state
bad blood.

Now the place is abuzz with trading
in your ankles's remanants bronzes
of sunburnt breastplates dying laughter...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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.

And the words won't rise either like that rod
or like logs to rejoin their old grove's sweet rot
and like eggs in the frying pan the face
spills its eyes all...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
 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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
 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 coke, or grass.
I sit by the window. Outside, an aspen.
When I loved, I loved deeply. It wasn't often.

I said the forest's only part of a tree.
Who needs the whole...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
 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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
 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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
 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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
 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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
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...Read More