The Poems of Doctor Zhivago

I recently went thrift shopping with my friend Lindsay from Lunettes London and was delighted when I found The Poems of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. I sat reading each poem back to back and was left captivated, especially by one called Intoxication:

Neath a willow with ivy entangled

We take cover in blustery weather.

My arms are wreathed about you;

In my raincape we huddle together.

I was wrong: Not ivy, my dearest,

But hops encircle this willow.

Well, then, let’s spread in its shelter

My cape for a rug and a pillow!


From his novel Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak created a book of poems that were significant to his leading character. These poems demonstrate the way Yuri (Dr Zhivago) viewed the world, fidelity and passion (he was in love with his wife but also in love with his muse, Lara).

Dr Zhivago

Julie Christie and Omar Sharif in Dr. Zhivago

The novel is a love story with compelling leads set against the devastation and anarchy of the First World War and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Though I have read the novel and seen the movie countless times (1965 version by David Lean), I still find myself swept up in the characters and the chaos of their love story as well as the costumes they wore. The movie won the 1965 Oscar for Best Costume Design and deservedly so. From the lavish and opulent to the simple and tattered; every look or attire was inspiring.

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