No, I’ll not take the half… by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

A helpless star, yes I think that’s what I am.

No, I’ll not take the half…
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Translated by George Reavey

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.

From The Collected Poems: 1952-1990 by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, published by Henry Holt and Company, 1991.

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