Anna Akhmatova




"…All the same, the five open a’s of Anna Akhmatova had a hypnotic effect and put this name’s carrier firmly on top of the alphabet of Russian poetry. In a sense, it was her first successful line; memorable in its acoustic inevitability, with its Ah sponsored less by sentiment than by history. This tells you a lot about the intuition and quality of the ear of this seventeen-year-old girl who soon after publication began to sign her letters and legal papers as Anna Akhmatova. In its suggestion of identity derived from the fusion of sound and time, the choice of the pseudonym turned out to be prophetic…"
-Joseph Brodsky



Evening

        I

Love
In Tsarskoe Selo
    I – “Down the alley, the horses are led …”
    II – “…And there my double…”
    III – “A swarthy youth once…”
“The boy there, on the bagpipes playing …”
“Love conquers, deceitful and slow …”
“Hands pressed together under the veil …”
“In the heart, the memory of the sun…”
“High in the sky, the cloud grew grayer …”
“The door ajar …”
“You want to know how this came to be? …”
Song of the final meeting
“As with a straw, you drink…”
“Strange boy, I’ve gone mad at last …”
“My legs are useless at the present …”

        II

Deception
    I - “This morning’s drunk …”
    II - “The wind is stifling and parching …”
    III - “Dark blue evening. Winds abate ….”
    IV - “I wrote the words that lately …”
“When you’re drunk, you’re so much fun …”
“My husband beat me with the plating …”
“Nothing chains a heart to heart …”
“By the early sunrise seized …”
“A loafer, wandering around …”
“I didn’t lock the door …”
“The threshing barn is stifling and hot …”
“Bury me, bury me, wind! …”
“Not the snake fangs, but the stinging …”

        III

To the muse
Alisa
    I - “She longs for the forgotten moment …”
    II - “It’s late! I’m tired, I’m yawning …”
Masquerade in the park
Evening room
Grey-eyed king
The fisherman
He loved…
“No letter came for me today …”
Inscription on an unfinished portrait
“The smell of dark blue grapes is sweet …”
Imitation of I. F. Annensky
“The park was filled with a light haze …”
“I live, like a cuckoo in a clock  …”
Funeral
The Garden
Over the water
“Three times she tortured me like this …”

    
    Poems added to later editions

"To the beam of light I pray... "
Two Poems
Reading Hamlet
"And cursing each other..."
First return
"I cried and I even repented..."
At the new moon
"There's an owl sewn..."

Selected Poems

"My night – I think of you obsessively..."
"Either I remained with you..."
"In my room, there is a serpent..."
"There's hardly any body left..."
"I don't think of you often at all..."
"The earthly glory is like smoke..."

Rosary

        I

Confusion
    I – “The burning light was stifling…”
    II – “Don’t love me, don’t wish to see me…”
    III – “You approached me, smiling mildly…”
Outing
In the evening
“We are all heavy-drinkers and whores…”
“After the wind and the frost in the yard…”
“… By the staircase, outside…”
“The eyes beg helplessly and dearly…”
“Imagination with submission…”
Fragment
“Real tenderness can’t be confused…”
“We will not drink from the same cup…”
“There’s a smile I make…”
“A loved one makes her demands at will…”
“We met there for the final time…”
“Hi! Did you hear me rustle slightly…”

        II

“Inside this home, all things and flowers…”
“The anxious days will not recede…”
“The boy said me…”
“The Polish church’s lofty vaults…”
“This heavy, amber day…”
Voice of memory
“I’ve learned to live now wisely and simply…”
“All stayed the same, just as it was…”
Insomnia
“You know, I’m languishing, locked up…”
“He marked with coal, as I languished…”

        III

“Pray for the lost and overburdened…”
“The faded flag above the customs office…”
“Her dry lips were tightly closed up…”
“My youth was hard to endure…”
<November 8, 1913>
“You have come to comfort me, my dear…”
“How I crave immortality, dying…”
“Do not crumble my letter, my angel…”
Confession
“Books and a pencil case in a strap…”
“Ever since St. Agrafena’s day…”
“With you, I will not drink wine…”
“The evening at the desk, in peace…”

        IV


“In my long dark braids interwoven…”
“Sister, I have come to take your place…”
Verses about Petersburg
    I – “St. Isaac’s Cathedral is clothed in…”
    II – “The heart beats steadily, more certain…”
“I know, I know – the skis will soon…”
Venice
“The prayer rug is all worn out…”
Guest
“I went in to see the poet…”

    Poems added to later editions


Fragment from a poem
“Out to the hall, I walked my lover…”
“Will you forgive me these November days?...”
“It’s not your love I seek tonight…”
“Your palms are fiery…”
“You’ll live happy, evil-free…”

















        I

"We thought: we’re poor …"
“I’ll leave your white house …”
"So many stones were cast …"
Song about a song
"My voice is weak …"
"He was jealous, and anxious, and tender  …"
“Love’s memory - a heavy weight …”
"The sky’s azure lacquer is waning …"
“Instead of wisdom – experience …”
"Ah! Here you come again …"
“The muse went on her way …”
"I’ve ceased to smile long ago …"
"They soar, they are somewhere mid-flight …"
"The breezy evening had commenced …"
"It’s thus I prayed …"
"In closeness, there’s a sacred line …"
“All’s taken away …”
“Words’ ease and freshness …”
Response
"Next to the river, this dark town …"

        II

"How dare you, on the Neva, gaze …"
December 9, 1913
"Beneath this bare home’s frozen roof …"
"All year long, you have always been near me …"
"The ancient city seems neglected …"
"The black road was winding slowly …"
"How I love, how I loved to gaze endlessly …"
"Here, human voice was never known …"
Separation
"The road of the seaside garden turns dark …"
"God has no mercy on gardeners and reapers …"
"We’re not in the forest, no need to bellow …"
“He was promised to me by it all …”
"Each and every day, I get …"
"An angel of God, who betrothed us …"
"Somewhere, without complications …"
“I don’t think of you often at all …”
“These squares are so spacious and wide …”
Escape
"When, with a firm but tired hand …"
Statue in Tsarskoye Selo
“The visions of Pavlovsk abound …”
"In drowsiness, once more astounded …"
"The immortelle is dry and rosy …"
"I concealed all my worry inside me …"

        III

May snow
"Why is it that you still beguile me …"
"The empty skies with a transparent gloss …"
July 1914
    I - "Smell of burning ..."
    II - "The sweet smell of juniper ..."
“That voice, with silence disputing …”
"We never quite learned to part …"
Comfort
"Is this why, for countless days …"
Prayer
“Where, tall lady, is your gypsy child? …”
“O, how often did I curse …”
“Neither boat nor cart can go …”
"I see, I see the crescent’s bow …"
"We paced the house, stricken …"
To my sister
“Thus others to the wounded crane …”
“In the churchyard, I’ll sleep soundly …”
“Your spirit, by your arrogance obscured …”
"I come and I’m relieved of restlessness …"
“I dream of him less often with each night …”
"We’ll be together, dear, together …"
In memory of July 19, 1914

        IV


“There are such days before the spring …”
“The fifth of the year’s seasons …”
“I myself had all the say …”
Dream
The white house
“Through villages and fields, he’d go …”
“The evening sky is gold and vast …”
“I don’t know if you’re dead or still living …”
“No, tsarevich, it’s not I …”
“Out of your memory, I will remove this day …”
“He didn’t glorify or scold me …”
“My shadow remained and it pines there …”
“The twenty first. Monday. Night …”
“The heavens sow a light rain …”
“I know that you are my reward …”
“These meeting didn’t leave …”
To the beloved
“Was my fate altered to such an extent …”
“Like a white stone at the bottom of the well …”
“First ray – Lord’s blessing, falling frail …”
“I was born neither early nor late …”
“Best for me to boisterously yell chastushki out …”
“No bliss or happiness is needed …”
“The spring was still mysterious and gentle …”
“The city’s gone…”
“O, there are words that cannot be repeated …”