Soul

My mournful soul, you, sorrowing
For all my friends around,
You have become the burial vault
Of all those hounded down.

Devoting to their memory
A verse, embalming them,
In torment, broken, lovingly
Lamenting over them,

In this our mean and selfish time,
For conscience and for quest
You stand-a columbarium
To lay their souls to rest.

The sum of all their agonies
Has bowed you to the ground.
You smell of dust, of death's decay,
Of morgue and burial mound.

My beggarly, dejected soul,
You heard and saw your fill;
Remembered all and mixed it well,
And ground it like a mill.

Continue pounding and compound
All that I witnessed here
To graveyard compost, as you did
For almost forty years.

by Boris Pasternak

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