Faced with this grief, the mountains bend,
The mighty river stops its flow,
But iron bolts won’t even dent,
Behind them - “the convicts’ den”
And somber deathly woe.
Some people feel the soothing breeze,
For some the sun shines red –
For us, these wonders long have ceased,
We only hear the grinding keys
And soldiers’ heavy tread.
We rose, as though to early mass,
And crossed the capital in throngs,
More breathless than the ones who’ve passed,
In haze, the Neva’s overcast,
But hope continues with its song.
There’s the verdict… Tears burst loud,
She’s singled out, on her own,
As if her life has been ripped out,
As if she’s thrown onto the ground…
She’s staggers… stumbling… alone…
Where are the friends with whom I’ve shared
Two years of living in that hell?
What blizzards do they have to bear?
What visions in the lunar glare?
To them I’m sending this farewell.
By Anna Akhmatova
Translation by Andrey Kneller