A Song

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
and I sat near.
The handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car
and you'd shift the gear.
We'd find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we'd repair
to where we've been before.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number.

I wish you were here, dear,
in this hemisphere,
as I sit on the porch
sipping a beer.
It's evening, the sun is setting;
boys shout and gulls are crying.
What's the point of forgetting
if it's followed by dying?

by Joseph Brodsky

Comments (15)

can anyone give me the name of this translator?
Roger Angell writes nicely of Brodsky and of this poem in This Old Man.
With some instruments playing in harmony for the theme, a vocalist takes us to a romantic world. Thanks for sharing.
Despite the jocular tone there is a current of sadness we sense almost immediately When the last lines makes the permanence of the poet's loss clear, I can admire his discipline in putting his grief in artistic form. I saw a show on PBS in the 1990's in which Seamus Heaney visited Brodsky in his small apartment. The Russian poet fixed tea as the Irish poet brought him up to date on his activities. As they sat at the table with their tea and conversation, it was a marvelous display of friendship and poetry. Although both have passed, their spirits persist.
a poem of longing for what has gone, so very sad
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