Monday, November 17, 2008

Lara’s Theme

My mother, Laura,

                           listening, frowning,

             no longer recalls

that tune.

                                      “I should, I know.”

(first publication)

Note: “Lara’s Theme,” from Doctor Zhivago, along with the film and its entire score, has long been one of my mother’s favorites, and mine. Another is “Danny Boy.” In fact, late in my unpublished second novel, The Smiling Eyes of Children, the main character, a sixty-year-old-writer named Ross Freeman, sings “Danny Boy” to a young journalist-friend and his wife in their apartment shortly before they must part company. Damn it — I really should publish that book. It’s a good one, and unusual in that it’s written almost entirely as dialogue. That took a bit of work, and I loved every minute of it.

“Lara’s Theme” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: a game that requires a bone-dry dirt course, blistering heat, the deep shade of walnut and ash trees, ten thousand sparrows, and a vineyard nearby.


brian a j s said...

When I was teaching at Eastern Illinois University, one of the assigned texts was Pasternak's novel. Saw the movie during that semester, and as is typical of how my mind works, I got the book and the movie mixed up. A student corrected me. Another student bought a copy of The Poems of Doctor Zhivago for me, noting inside: "When time has passed us by, this will still be remembered."

William Michaelian said...

Years ago, I gave my mother the Reader’s Digest edition of the book, translated by Max Hayward and Manya Harari. I’m looking at it now. The Poems of Yuri Zhivago begin on Page 455. Here’s one that echoes, in a way, your student’s comment:


I have died, but you are still among the living.
And the wind, keening and complaining,
Makes the country house and the forest rock—
Not each pine by itself
But all the trees as one,
Together with the illimitable distance;
It makes them rock as the hulls of sailboats
Rock on mirrorous waters of a boat basin.
And this the wind does not out of bravado
Or in a senseless rage,
But so that in its desolation
It may find words to fashion a lullaby for you.