Thursday, June 6, 2013

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

Mayakovsky in 1913

I didn’t know you when you were in your full glory,

I only saw your fiery ascent,

But, maybe, today I have the right

To remember that day from years ago.

How sounds braced the lines of your poetry

With voices like we’d never heard…

Your young hands didn’t rest,

And the scaffold you built was terrifying.

Everything you touched

Seemed transformed,

Whatever you wanted to destroy—collapsed,

A life or death sentence in every word.

Alone and never satisfied,

You tried to rush fate along.

You had already freely and willingly accepted

That soon you’d have to go out and join the great struggle.

I can still hear the answering roar

When you read to us,

The rain slanted its angry eyes,

You started a wild fight with the city.

And your still-unknown name,

Flew into the stuffy lecture hall like lightning,

So that today, cherished everywhere in this country,

It could ring out like a battle cry.

–Анна Ахматова, 1940

–Anna Akhmatova, 1940

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