Be Alive

The Russian poet and novelist Boris Pasternak (1890–1960) was born into a wealthy Jewish family but baptized into the Russian Orthodox faith by his nanny. At first he supported the Russian revolution, but later he lost his faith in atheist totalitarianism. Pasternak came to symbolize the radical dissident's defense of human conscience. His poem "To Be Famous" encourages a certain sort of greatness, that done in quiet anonymity. That's where true history happens, not among the elite or the famous.
Creation calls for self-surrender,
Not loud noise and cheap success.
Life must be lived without false face,
Lived so that in the final count
We draw unto ourselves love from space.
So plunge yourself into obscurity
And conceal there your tracks.
But be alive, alive your full share,
Alive until the end.



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