(18 July 1933 / Zima Junction, Siberia)

No, I'Ll No Take Half

No, I'll not take the half of anything!
Give me the whole sky! The far-flung earth!
Seas and rivers and mountain avalanches-
All these are mine! I'll accept no less!

No, life, you cannot woo me with a part.
Let it be all or nothing! I can shoulder that!
I don't want happiness by halves,
Nor is half of sorrow what I want.

Yet there's a pillow I would share,
Where gently pressed against a cheek,
Like a helpless star, a falling star,
A ring glimmers on a finger of your hand.

Translated by George Reavey

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Comments (1)

I love this poem. I love it's embrace of a whole life. It reminds me that every difficulty in life has made me stronger and better than joy ever did. See also his poem Thanks, both of which were readings at my wedding 20 years ago. My marriage is gone, but I am still reminded that we started out with Thanks and No, I'll not take half and am heartened