Native Soil

There's
Nobody simpler than us, or with
More pride, or fewer tears.
(1922)
Our hearts don't wear it as an amulet,
It doesn't sob beneath the poet's hand,
Nor irritate the wounds we can't forget
In our bitter sleep. It's not the Promised Land.
Our souls don't calculate its worth
As a commodity to be sold and bought;
Sick, and poor, and silent on this earth,
Often we don't give it a thought.
Yes, for us it's the dirt on our galoshes,
Yes, for us it's the grit between OUF teeth.
Dust, and we grind and crumble and crush it,
The gentle and unimplicated earth.
But we'll lie in it, become its weeds and flowers,
So unembarrassedly we call it—ours.

1961, Leningrad

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