High in the sky

High in the sky, the cloud grew grayer,

Like a stretched out squirrel pelt.

“I don’t care,” he said, “Snow Maiden,

That in March your frame will melt.”

My hands grew cold in the downy muff.

I felt scared, confused and wary.

How to bring back the weeks of his love

That passed, so transient and airy!

I want no vengeance or bitter grief,

Let me die with the blizzard’s last blitz.

I cast fortunes about him on Epiphany Eve.

In January, I was still his.
Anna Akhmatova
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In the heart, memory of the sun

In the heart, the memory of the sun fades,

Yellower turns the grass.

The wind disperses the early flakes

Barely, with each pass.

In narrow channels, water won’t flow –

Cooling, stands still.

Here, nothing will ever happen, I know, -

It never will!

The transparent fan of the willow unfolds

In the empty blue,

Perhaps, it’s best that I’m not, after all,

Married to you.

In the heart, the memory of the sun fades.

What, is everything glum?

Yes, perhaps!... As the night pervades,

Winter will come.
Anna Akhmatova
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Hands wrought under the dark veil

Hands wrought under the dark veil…

“What is it that makes you so pale and faint?”

- I’m afraid that I made him drunk with the ale

Of bitter anguish and torturous pain.

Could I forget it? He stumbled out, wavering,

His tormented mouth was twisted and grim....

I ran down the stairs, not touching the railing,

At the end of the walkway, I caught up to him.

I yelled after him: “I was kidding and only.

If you leave me today, I will die.”

He turned back and smiled, so unbearably calmly,

“Don’t stand in the wind,” he replied.
Anna Akhmatova
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Love conquers...

Love conquers, deceitful and slow,

With a soft amateurish refrain.

So strange to think – not long ago

You weren’t dejected and gray.

In the garden, at home, in the field,

Whenever she flashed her smile,

Wherever you were, you believed

You were free and out in the wild.

Once taken by her, you glowed

And you drank her poisons, content.

Because all the stars seemed to grow,

And fields had a different scent,

Autumn fields.
Anna Akhmatova
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The boy there, on the bagpipes playing

The boy there, on the bagpipes playing,

The girl, who weaves herself a wreath,

Two forest paths that cross while straying,

The fire in the fields beneath -

I see it all. I witness it and stow

Deep in my heart, affectionately gentle.

There’s one thing only that I never know

And cannot even tenuously remember.

I do not ask for wisdom or for might.

Only a bit of fire’s warmth! I’m cold!

Winged or wingless, in the day or night,

The merry god won’t visit me at all.
Anna Akhmatova
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In Tsarskoe Selo (ep.3)

A swarthy youth once wandered here,

By the shores of the lake he sighed,

And for a century now we revere

A barely audible rustling stride.

Pine needles’ dense and bristly mat

Covers the stumps of the trees…

Here lay his old three-cornered hat

And a worn, tattered book by Parny.
Anna Akhmatova
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In Tsarskoe Selo (ep.2)

…And there my double made of marble

Lies by the ancient maple tree,

His face onto the lake imparted,

He hears the rustling greenery.

Bright showers wash in a cascade

The clotted wound upon his torso…

O, cold one, white one, only wait

And I will turn to marble also.
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian

In Tsarskoe Selo (ep.1)

Down the alley, the horses are led,

Their long wavy manes - all combed out,

A place full of riddles, how I lament,

Having fallen in love with this town.

It’s strange to recall: the soul pined for joy,

Only gasping for breath to pull through,

And now I’ve become a plaything, a toy,

Like my rose-colored friend cockatoo.

No hint of pain can now make me cower,

Look in my eyes, and you’ll see,

I dislike only the pre-sunset hour,

The word “leave” and wind from the sea.
Anna Akhmatova
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First, as a serpent, it’ll cast its spell

Next to your heart, curled up.

Then, it’ll come as a dove, as well,

Cooing for days, nonstop.

In the frost, it’ll show itself curtly,

Or in the drowsing field of carnations…

To escort you covertly and firmly

Away from all rest and elation.

In the prayer of a violin yearning,

So sweetly, it’ll sob for a while,

And how frightening it is to discern it

In a yet unfamiliar smile.
Anna Akhmatova
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To the Londoners

The twenty-fourth drama of Shakespeare
Time's writing with its indifferent hand.
We, selves, the guests of the awful Feast here,
Better would read Hamlet, Caesar, and Lear
Over the river, in heavy lead clad;
Better - to bear, with singing and torches,
Juliet, the dove, to her family's graves,
Peep into windows of Macbeth's castle godless,
Tremble with scum - hired killers and knaves -
But not this one, Lord… oh, not this...oh, not this, -
To read this one we already haven't strengths!
Anna Akhmatova
Read in English and Russian