Holy Week

The dark of night lies everywhere.
So young the night around,
We see how vast with stars the sky,
Each star as radiant as day.
And if the earth could have its way,
It would sleep on– through Easter Day—
Lulled by the reading of the psalms.

The dark of night lies everywhere.
So young the night, the square seems like
Eternity form end to end
Where still a thousand years must wait
The dawn of day and light.

The earth is naked to the bone:
It hasn’t got a thread to wear
For swinging chapel bells
Or singing with the choir.

From Maundy Thursday
Unto the eve of Easter Day,
The waters gnaw at riverbanks
And swirl in pools and breakers.

The woods are also naked
And hushed through Passiontide;
The pines stand crowded in a throng
Like worshippers at prayer.

And in the city, rallied about
The square, the thronging trees
Stand in their nakedness, and peer
Through gratings at the church.
They gaze with awe. Their alarm and fears are justified:
The gardens leave their fences,
Degrees and laws of life are rent—
For God is given to the grave.

They see the light at the royal gate,
The tapers glowing, the black pall,
The faces stained with tears.
They see the long procession starting
With Cross and Shroud
And that two birches at the gate
Have bowed aside to let them pass.

They move around the cloister walls
In crowds from curb to curb,
And bring the spring into the church—
The voice of spring,
The heady fumes of spring,
The springtime of the air,
Pungent as a holy wafer.

March scatters handfuls of the snow
Like alms among the lame,
As though a man had carried out
The holy Ark outside the church,
And gave its all unto the poor.

They sing until the sunrise hour.
Then, having wept their fill,
Their chants of the Psalms and Acts
Flow with an air serene
Into empty lamplit street.

All creatures hear the voice of spring
In the still of night, believing
That when good weather comes
Death itself shall be destroyed
By travail of the Resurrection.

Boris Pasternak
“Dr. Zhivago”


  1. Kristine says:

    Thank you, Marintha–this is beautiful.

  2. Wonderful. Thank you!

  3. prometheus says:

    I like it!

  4. So true!

%d bloggers like this: