The Poem is "People," by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, born in Stalin's Russia the descendant of Ukrainians exiled to Siberia.
No people are uninteresting.Maybe I have been thinking about death too much lately. My father died over a year ago. My mother over 10 years ago. Friends more recently. I miss them all.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.
Nothing in them is not particular,
and planet is dissimilar from planet.
And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity
obscurity is not uninteresting.
To each his world is private,
and in that one excellent minute.
And in that world one tragic minute.
These are private.
In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.
They are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.
Whose fate is to survive,
But what has gone is also not nothing:
by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.
Whom we knew as faulty, the earth’s creatures.
Of whom, essentially, what did we know?
Borther of a brother? Friend of friends?
Lover of lover?
We who knew our fathers
in everything, in nothing.
They perish. They cannot be brought back.
The secret worlds are not regenerated.
And every time again and again
I make my lament against destruction.