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Famous Russian Poets (Знаменитые русские поэты)
ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:18:20 | Сообщение № 61
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March Elegy

by Anna Akhmatova

I have enough treasures from the past
to last me longer than I need, or want.
You know as well as I . . . malevolent memory
won't let go of half of them:
a modest church, with its gold cupola
slightly askew; a harsh chorus
of crows; the whistle of a train;
a birch tree haggard in a field
as if it had just been sprung from jail;
a secret midnight conclave
of monumental Bible-oaks;
and a tiny rowboat that comes drifting out
of somebody's dreams, slowly foundering.
Winter has already loitered here,
lightly powdering these fields,
casting an impenetrable haze
that fills the world as far as the horizon.
I used to think that after we are gone
there's nothing, simply nothing at all.
Then who's that wandering by the porch
again and calling us by name?
Whose face is pressed against the frosted pane?
What hand out there is waving like a branch?
By way of reply, in that cobwebbed corner
a sunstruck tatter dances in the mirror.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:20:02 | Сообщение № 62
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Memory of Sun

by Anna Akhmatova

Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
Grass grows yellower.
Faintly if at all the early snowflakes
Hover, hover.

Water becoming ice is slowing in
The narrow channels.
Nothing at all will happen here again,
Will ever happen.

Against the sky the willow spreads a fan
The silk's torn off.
Maybe it's better I did not become
Your wife.

Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
What is it? - Dark?
Perhaps! Winter will have occupied us
In the night.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:20:41 | Сообщение № 63
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Muse

by Anna Akhmatova

When, in the night, I wait for her, impatient,
Life seems to me, as hanging by a thread.
What just means liberty, or youth, or approbation,
When compared with the gentle piper's tread?

And she came in, threw out the mantle's edges,
Declined to me with a sincere heed.
I say to her, 'Did you dictate the Pages
Of Hell to Dante?' She answers, 'Yes, I did.'
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:21:22 | Сообщение № 64
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Music

by Anna Akhmatova

Something of heavens ever burns in it,
I like to watch its wondrous facets' growth.
It speaks with me in fate's non-seldom fits,
When others fear to approach close.

When the last of friends had looked away
From me in grave, it lay to me in silence,
And sang as sing a thunderstorm in May,
As if all flowers began to talk in gardens.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:22:17 | Сообщение № 65
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My hands clasped under a veil

My hands clasped under a veil, dim and hazy…
'Why are you so pale and upset?'
That’s because I today made him crazy
With the sour wine of regret.

Can't forget! He got out, astound,
With his mouth distorted by pain...
I, not touching the railing, ran down,
I was running to him till the lane.

Fully choked, I cried, 'That's a joke —
All that was. You get out, I'll die.'
And he smiled very calmly, like stroke:
'It is windy right here — pass by.'
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:24:46 | Сообщение № 66
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My Way

by Anna Akhmatova

One goes in straightforward ways,
One in a circle roams:
Waits for a girl of his gone days,
Or for returning home.

But I do go — and woe is there —
By a way nor straight, nor broad,
But into never and nowhere,
Like trains — off the railroad.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:26:28 | Сообщение № 67
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Now no-one will be listening to songs

by Anna Akhmatova

Now no-one will be listening to songs.
The days long prophesied have come to pass.
The world has no more miracles. Don't break
My heart, song, but be still: you are the last.

Not long ago you took your morning flight
With all a swallow's free accomplishment.
Now that you are a hungry beggar-woman,
Don't go knocking at the stranger's gate.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:27:23 | Сообщение № 68
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Our Native Earth

by Anna Akhmatova

We do not carry it in lockets on the breast,
And do not cry about it in poems,
It does not wake us from the bitter rest,
And does not seem to us like Eden promised.
In our hearts, we never try to treat
This as a subject for the bargain row,
While being ill, unhappy, spent on it,
We even fail to see it or to know.
Yes, this dirt on the feet suits us fairly,
Yes, this crunch on the teeth suits us just,
And we trample it nightly and daily —
This unmixed and non-structural dust.
But we lay into it and become it alone,
And therefore call this earth so freely — my own.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:28:13 | Сообщение № 69
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Rachel

by Anna Akhmatova

When Jacob and Rachel met for the first time,
He bowed to her like a humble wayfarer.
The herds were raising hot dust to the skies,
The little well's mouth was covered by a boulder.
He rolled the old boulder away from the well
And watered the flock with clean water himself.

Yet sweet little sadness crept into his heart
With each passing day growing stronger.
To wed her he bargained to toil seven years
As shepherd for her artful father.
Oh, Rachel! To the captive of love in his eyes
The seven years seemed as a few dazzling days.

Yet Laban was thirsty for silver, and wise,
And mercy he didn’t espouse,
Assuming forgiveness for all kind of lies…
As long as they serve his own house.
He took homely Leah with his sure hand
And led her to Jacob in his wedding tent.

A sultry night reigns over high desert sky
And spreads misty dews in the morning,
While pulling her braids in despair all that night
The younger of sisters is moaning,
Sends curses to Leah and God for her doom
Imploring the angel of death to come soon.

As Jacob is dreaming the sweetest of dreams:
The clear well spring in the valley
And Rachel's eyes happily looking at him
Her beautiful voice singing softly:
O, weren't you kissing me, Jacob, with love
And calling me always your black turtledove?
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:31:20 | Сообщение № 70
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Reading 'Hamlet'

1

The lot by the graves was a dusty hot land;
The river behind — blue and cool.
You told me, 'Well, go to a convent,
Or go marry a fool...'
Princes always say that, being placid or fierce,
But I cherish this speech, short and poor —
Let it flow and shine through a thousand years,
Like from shoulders do mantles of fur.

2

And, as if in wrong occasion,
I said, 'Thou,' else...
And an easy smile of pleasure
Lit up dear face.

From such lapses, told or mental,
Every cheek would blaze.
I love you as forty gentle
Sisters love and bless.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:33:01 | Сообщение № 71
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Requiem

by Anna Akhmatova

Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected -
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
[1961]

INSTEAD OF A PREFACE

During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I
spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in
Leningrad. One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me,
her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in
her life heard my name. Jolted out of the torpor
characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear
(everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe
this?' And I answered - 'I can.' It was then that
something like a smile slid across what had previously
been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957. Leningrad]

DEDICATION

Mountains fall before this grief,
A mighty river stops its flow,
But prison doors stay firmly bolted
Shutting off the convict burrows
And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone,
Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this,
We are everywhere the same, listening
To the scrape and turn of hateful keys
And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass,
Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed,
We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun,
Lower every day; the Neva, mistier:
But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict. Immediately a flood of tears,
Followed by a total isolation,
As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or,
Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out,
But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends,
Captives of my two satanic years?
What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard?
What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon?
I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940]

INTRODUCTION
[PRELUDE]

It happened like this when only the dead
Were smiling, glad of their release,
That Leningrad hung around its prisons
Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang
Short songs of farewell
To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering,
As they, in regiments, walked along -
Stars of death stood over us
As innocent Russia squirmed
Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres
Of the black marias.

I

You were taken away at dawn. I followed you
As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God. . .
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold
sweat
On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather

To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1)
Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
[1935. Autumn. Moscow]

II

Silent flows the river Don
A yellow moon looks quietly on
Swanking about, with cap askew
It sees through the window a shadow of you
Gravely ill, all alone
The moon sees a woman lying at home
Her son is in jail, her husband is dead
Say a prayer for her instead.

III

It isn't me, someone else is suffering. I couldn't.
Not like this. Everything that has happened,
Cover it with a black cloth,
Then let the torches be removed. . .
Night.

IV

Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling,
The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2)
If only you could have foreseen
What life would do with you -
That you would stand, parcel in hand,
Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in
line,
Burning the new year's ice
With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways
With not a sound - how many innocent
Blameless lives are being taken away. . .
[1938]

V

For seventeen months I have been screaming,
Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers
For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever -
I can no longer distinguish
Who is an animal, who a person, and how long
The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers,
The chinking of the thurible,
Tracks from somewhere into nowhere
And, staring me in the face
And threatening me with swift annihilation,
An enormous star.
[1939]

VI

Weeks fly lightly by. Even so,
I cannot understand what has arisen,
How, my son, into your prison
White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn,
Eyes that focus like a hawk,
And, upon your cross, the talk
Is again of death.
[1939. Spring]

VII
THE VERDICT

The word landed with a stony thud
Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared,
I will manage with the rest.

I have a lot of work to do today;
I need to slaughter memory,
Turn my living soul to stone
Then teach myself to live again. . .

But how. The hot summer rustles
Like a carnival outside my window;
I have long had this premonition
Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939. Summer. Fontannyi Dom (4)]

VIII
TO DEATH

You will come anyway - so why not now?
I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simple tale prepared by you
(And known by all to the point of nausea), take me
Before the commander of the blue caps and let me
glimpse
The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore. The river Yenisey
Swirls on. The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes
Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939. Fontannyi Dom]

IX

Madness with its wings
Has covered half my soul
It feeds me fiery wine
And lures me into the abyss.

That's when I understood
While listening to my alien delirium
That I must hand the victory
To it.

However much I nag
However much I beg
It will not let me take
One single thing away:

Not my son's frightening eyes -
A suffering set in stone,
Or prison visiting hours
Or days that end in storms

Nor the sweet coolness of a hand
The anxious shade of lime trees
Nor the light distant sound
Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940. Fontannyi Dom]

X
CRUCIFIXION

Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.

1.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour,
The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!'
But to his mother, 'Weep not for me. . .'
[1940. Fontannyi Dom]

2.
Magdalena smote herself and wept,
The favourite disciple turned to stone,
But there, where the mother stood silent,
Not one person dared to look.
[1943. Tashkent]

EPILOGUE

1.
I have learned how faces fall,
How terror can escape from lowered eyes,
How suffering can etch cruel pages
Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair
Can suddenly turn white. I've learned to recognise
The fading smiles upon submissive lips,
The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself
But all of you who stood there with me
Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat
Under a towering, completely blind red wall.

2.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you:
The one who resisted the long drag to the open window;
The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar
soil beneath her feet;
The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied,

'I arrive here as if I've come home!'
I'd like to name you all by name, but the list
Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
So,
I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble
words
I overheard you use. Everywhere, forever and always,
I will never forget one single thing. Even in new
grief.
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth
Through which one hundred million people scream;
That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead
On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country
Decides to raise a memorial to me,
I give my consent to this festivity
But only on this condition - do not build it
By the sea where I was born,
I have severed my last ties with the sea;
Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump
Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me;
Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours
And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear
That I will forget the Black Marias,
Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman
Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears
From my immovable bronze eyelids
And let the prison dove coo in the distance
While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940. Fontannyi Dom]

FOOTNOTES

1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion
against Peter the Great in 1698. Most were either
executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St
Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the
Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the
shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:35:09 | Сообщение № 72
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Shade

by Anna Akhmatova

‘What does a certain woman know of the hour of her death?’ - Mandelstam

Tallest, suavest of us, why Memory,
forcing you to appear from the past, pass
down a train, swaying, to find me
clear profiled through the window-glass?
Angel or bird? How we debated!
The poet thought you like translucent straw.
Through dark lashes, your eyes, Georgian,
looking, with gentleness, on it all.
Shade, forgive. Blue skies, Flaubert,
Insomnia, late-blooming lilac flower,
bring you, and the magnificence of the year,
nineteen-thirteen, to mind, and your
unclouded temperate afternoon, memory
difficult for me now – Oh, shade!
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 09:42:50 | Сообщение № 73
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So again we triumph

by Anna Akhmatova

So again we triumph!
Again we do not come!
Our speeches silent,
Our words, dumb.
Our eyes that have not met
Again, are lost;
And only tears forget
The grip of frost.
A wild-rose bush near Moscow
Knows something of
This pain that will be called
Immortal love.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 10:07:16 | Сообщение № 74
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Solitude

by Anna Akhmatova

So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them anymore,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat...
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it.
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ingvarr
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Somewhere there is a simple life

by Anna Akhmatova

Somewhere there is a simple life and a world,
Transparent, warm and joyful. . .
There at evening a neighbor talks with a girl
Across the fence, and only the bees can hear
This most tender murmuring of all.

But we live ceremoniously and with difficulty
And we observe the rites of our bitter meetings,
When suddenly the reckless wind
Breaks off a sentence just begun -

But not for anything would we exchange this splendid
Granite city of fame and calamity,
The wide rivers of glistening ice,
The sunless, gloomy gardens,
And, barely audible, the Muse's voice.
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ingvarr
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Дата: 28.05.2018, 10:38:01 | Сообщение № 76
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Song Of The Final Meeting

by Anna Akhmatova

My breast grew helplessly cold,
But my steps were light.
I pulled the glove from my left hand
Mistakenly onto my right.

It seemed there were so many steps,
But I knew there were only three!
Amidst the maples an autumn whisper
Pleaded: 'Die with me!

I'm led astray by evil
Fate, so black and so untrue.'
I answered: 'I, too, dear one!
I, too, will die with you…'

This is a song of the final meeting.
I glanced at the house's dark frame.
Only bedroom candles burning
With an indifferent yellow flame.
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ingvarr
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Sunbeam

I pray to the sunbeam from the window -
It is pale, thin, straight.
Since morning I have been silent,
And my heart - is split.
The copper on my washstand
Has turned green,
But the sunbeam plays on it
So charmingly.
How innocent it is, and simple,
In the evening calm,
But to me in this deserted temple
It's like a golden celebration,
And a consolation.
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ingvarr
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Sunshine Has Filled The Room

by Anna Akhmatova

Sunshine has filled the room
with clear golden specks of dust.
I woke up and remembered,
dear, it was your birthday.

But far beyond my windows
snow has covered the ground,
And made me forget, so now to atone,
I sleep without dreams.
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The Last Toast

by Anna Akhmatova

I drink to home, that is lost,
To evil life of mine,
To loneness in which we’re both,
And to your future, fine, —

To lips by which I was betrayed,
To eyes that deathly cold,
To that that the world is bad and that
We were not saved by God.
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The Pillow Hot

by Anna Akhmatova

The pillow hot
On both sides,
The second candle
Dying, the ravens
Crying. Haven't
Slept all night, too late
To dream of sleep...
How unbearably white
The blind on the white window.
Good morning, morning!
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