A helpless star, yes I think that’s what I am.
No, I’ll not take the half…
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.