Anna Akhmatova poems in English

  1. A loafer, wandering around
  2. And cursing each other
  3. As with a straw, you drink
  4. At the new moon
  5. Bury me, bury me, wind!
  6. By the early sunrise seized
  7. Dark blue evening. Winds abate
  8. Deception
  9. Evening room
  10. First return
  11. Funeral
  12. Grey-eyed king
  13. Hands wrought under the dark veil
  14. He loved
  15. High in the sky
  16. I cried and I even repented
  17. I didn’t lock the door
  18. I live, like a cuckoo in a clock
  19. I wrote the words that lately
  20. Imitation of I. F. Annensky
  21. In the heart, memory of the sun
  22. In Tsarskoe Selo (ep.1)
  23. In Tsarskoe Selo (ep.2)
  24. In Tsarskoe Selo (ep.3)
  25. Inscription on an unfinished portrait
  26. It’s late! I’m tired, I’m yawning
  27. Love
  28. Love conquers...
  29. Masquerade in the park
  30. My husband beat me with the plating
  31. My legs are useless at the present
  32. No letter came for me today
  33. Not the snake fangs, but the stinging
  34. Nothing chains a heart to heart
  35. Over the water
  36. Reading Hamlet
  37. She longs for the forgotten moment
  38. Song of the final meeting
  39. Strange boy, I’ve gone mad at last
  40. The boy there, on the bagpipes playing
  41. The door ajar
  42. The fisherman
  43. The Garden
  44. The park was filled with a light haze
  45. The smell of dark blue
  46. The threshing barn is stifling and hot
  47. The wind is stifling and parching
  48. There\'s an owl sewn
  49. Three times she tortured me like this
  50. To the beam of light I pray
  51. To the Londoners
  52. To the muse
  53. Two Poems
  54. When you’re drunk, you’re so much fun
  55. You want to know how this came to be


I’ve come to know how tired faces shrivel,

How fear, from underneath the eyelids, peeks,

How suffering and torment leaves a scribble

Of cuneiform across the dried up cheeks,

I’ve seen how dark or ash-blond strands of hair

Would unexpectedly turn silver soon thereafter,

How smiles fade from the submissive stares,

And terror trembles in the hollow laughter.

And now I pray, not for myself, but all

Who stood beside me, on that very street,

Beneath the blind and towering red wall,

Through bitter chill and scorching July heat.


The hour of remembrance is here once again.

I see, I hear, I feel you near, my friends:

The one by the window, who could barely stand,

The one, who no longer walks on this land,

She flung back her hair, as she said with a tear:

“I feel like I’m home every time I come here.”

I wish I could call each by name, but the list

Was taken away and no longer exists.

For all of them, I wove this gorgeous shawl

From fragments of phrases I took from them all.

I think of them always, wherever I go.

I'll never forget them in new times of woe.

And soon, when my mouth is sealed once again, -

The mouth that screamed for a million men, -

Let them remember me in a similar way, -

On the eve of my future memorial day.

And if, in this country, they come to agree

To raise up a statue in remembrance of me,

I’ll grant my consent to this fine celebration –

Only if promised that it never be stationed

In the land of my birth, by the picturesque coast,

(My last link to the sea has already been lost),

And not in Tsar’s garden, by the sacred old tree,

Where the grief–stricken shadow is looking for me,

But here, where I stood for three hundred hours,

Where the strong iron bars obstructed the towers.

For even in death, I’m afraid to forget

The way black marias clanged up ahead,

The way the gate shut when it was released,

As the old woman wailed like a wounded beast.

And there, unexpectedly, teardrops will flow

From the eyelids of bronze with the melting of snow,

And prison-yard pigeons will rise to the sky,

As the ships, on the Neva, pass quietly by.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian


“Do not weep for me, Mother,

Seeing me in the coffin.”


The choir of angels sang out heavenly,

The sky was melted into a fiery sea.

To the Father: “Why hast thou forsaken me?”

To the Mother: “Do not weep for me.”


Magdalene wept in a furious daze,

The dear disciple stood still, like a stone.

But no one was daring to gaze

Where His Mother, stood silent, alone.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

9 - The madness covers with its wing

The madness covers with its wing

Half of my soul from fear,

It gives me fiery wine to drink

And darkness lures me near.

I’ve come to see the resolution,

And I must cede the throne

And hearken to my own delusion

As if it ceased to be my own.

(However much I try to plead,

And beg for mercy’s sake)

It will not grant me what I need, -

Those things I’d like to take:

My child’s chilling frightening stare –

The torment’s heavy rock,

The jail visits that we shared,

The day when thunder struck,

The coolness of the hands I stroked,

The lime tree’s agitation,

The light and distant words we spoke

In parting consolation.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

8 - To Death

You’ll come. – Why delay any more?

I’m waiting – life’s hard to endure.

For you, I have opened the door

You’ll enter, so wondrous and pure.

Take on any form, - take your pick,

Burst in like some poisonous gas,

Or creep, like a crook, with a brick,

Or like typhus, come in with a gasp,

Or a story that you simply make up,

So common, it’s making me nauseous –

I’ll see the policeman’s blue cap

And the janitor, frightened and cautious.

The Yenisey is flowing. In the skies,

The Polar Star is lit. My fate is sealed.

The sparkle of the blue beloved eyes

Is veiled by the horror’s last ordeal.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

7 - The Verdict

Onto my barely living chest,

The stone of the verdict fell.

But I was ready for this test,

Somehow, I’ll bear this hell.

So much that I must do alone:

I’ll start by erasing the past,

I’ll turn my living soul to stone,

And learn to live, at last.

Or else… The summer, on display,

Still gleams for some occasion.

I have foreseen this sunny day,

The vacant house, desolation.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

6 - Weeks fly by to no avail

Weeks fly by to no avail,

I can’t comprehend this mess.

My dear son, with such distress,

White nights gazed into your jail,

It’s as if they’ve never left,

Eyes of hawks, with eager gloss,

They discuss your heavy cross

And again, they talk of death.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

5 - For seventeen months, I plead

For seventeen months, I plead

For you to come home again,

On my knees, at the hangman’s feet, -

You’re my son and my dread.

I’m afraid that I can’t comprehend,

All tangled, in utter confusion,

Who’s an animal, who’s a man,

And the date of your execution.

There’s only flowers in a veil

Of dust, the censer, and a trail

Of footprints leading far.

And staring straight into my eyes,

With threats of imminent demise,

There is a giant star.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

4 - If only you

If only you, the fool from long ago,

The favorite of every single friend,

The carefree sinner of the Tsarskoe Selo,

Could see your future to its full extent.

Waiting three-hundredth, in an endless line,

Beneath The Crosses, carrying supplies,

You’d notice how the blazing drops of brine

Burn to the ground through the new year’s ice.

The prison poplars sway with such allure,

And not a sound follows. Can you fathom,

How many lives must end there premature…
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian