Readers of Newspapers

Quoted on Thomas McGonigle’s ABC of Reading, a fragment of a poem written by Marina Tsvetaeva depicting newspaper readers on subway trains. I’m in sympathy with her comparison of the reading of newspapers to a contagious disease. Pleasing . . .

I enjoyed the fragment so much that I bought Bride of Ice, a collection translated by Elaine Feinstein (who also writes an excellent foreword).

It crawls, the underground snake
crawls, with its load of people.
And each one has his
newspaper, his skin
disease; a twitch of chewing;
newspaper caries.
Masticators of gum,
readers of newspapers.

They swallow emptiness,
these readers of newspapers.

Grabbers of small moments
readers of newspapers.

It’s better to go to a graveyard
than into the prurient
sickbay of scab-scratchers,
these readers of newspapers.

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