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It is a rich, full-bodied whistle,
cracked ice crunching in pails,
the night that numbs the leaf,
the duel of two nightingales,
the sweet pea that has run wild,
Creation’s tears in shoulder blades.

[Это – круто налившийся свист,
Это – щелканье сдавленных льдинок,
Это – ночь, леденящая лист,
Это – двух соловьев поединок.
Это – сладкий заглохший горох,
Это – слезы вселенной в лопатках.]

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
“Definition of Poetry [Определение поэзии],” ll. 1-6, My Sister — Life [сестра моя – жизнь] (1922)

This is the translation, source unknown, given in Pasternak's obituary, "Farewell in a Poet's Land," Life Magazine (1960-06-13), and frequently quoted from there.

Alternate translations:

It's a tightly filled whistle,
it's the squeaking of jostled ice,
it's night, frosting the leaves,
it's two nightingales dueling.
It's the soundlessness of sweetpeas,
the tears of the universe in a pod.
[tr. Rudman/Boychuk (1983)]

It's a whistle that howls in the veins,
It's the crackle of ice under pressure,
It's the leaf-chilling night in the rain,
It's two nightingales dueling together.
It's the sweet pea all choked in the fields,
It's the universe weeping in pea pods.
[tr. Falen (2012)]

It’s a whistle, acutely full,
It’s a crackle of squeezed ice,
It’s night, freezing a leaf,
It’s two nightingales in a duel.
It’s the sweet grown-wildness of peas,
It’s tears of the universe in pods.
[tr. Livingstone (2015)]

It's a whistle blown ripe in a trice,
It's the cracking of ice in a gale,
It's a night that turns green leaves to ice,
It's a duel of two nightingales.
It is sweet-peas run gloriously wild,
It's the world's twinkling tears in the pod.

Added on 25-Jun-24 | Last updated 25-Jun-24
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There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. Men do not quarrel about the meaning of sunsets; they never dispute that the hawthorn says the best and wittiest thing about the spring.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“A Defence of Heraldry,” The Defendant (1901)
Added on 30-May-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very ‘spiritual’, that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother — the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time, you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a wife’s or son’s ‘soul’ to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Screwtape Letters (1942)
Added on 1-Nov-16 | Last updated 1-Nov-16
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The man who tries to make the flag an object of a single party is a greater traitor to that flag than any man who fires at it.

David Lloyd George (1863-1945) Welsh politician, statesman, UK Prime Minister (1916-22)
Added on 11-Sep-14 | Last updated 11-Sep-14
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