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Anna Akhmatova Poems

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Anna Akhmatova

June 23, 1889 – March 5 1966
Famous 20th century poet




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Sunshine Has Filled The Room
 
   Sunshine has filled the room
    with clear golden specks of dust.
    I woke up and remembered,
    dear, it was your birthday.
   
    But far beyond my windows
    snow has covered the ground,
    And made me forget, so now to atone,
    I sleep without dreams.



Rachel


When Jacob and Rachel met for the first time,
He bowed to her like a humble wayfarer.
The herds were raising hot dust to the skies,
The little well's mouth was covered by a boulder.
He rolled the old boulder away from the well
And watered the flock with clean water himself.

Yet sweet little sadness crept into his heart
With each passing day growing stronger.
To wed her he bargained to toil seven years
As shepherd for her artful father.
Oh, Rachel! To the captive of love in his eyes
The seven years seemed as a few dazzling days.

Yet Laban was thirsty for silver, and wise,
And mercy he didn’t espouse,
Assuming forgiveness for all kind of lies…
As long as they serve his own house.
He took homely Leah with his sure hand
And led her to Jacob in his wedding tent.


A sultry night reigns over high desert sky
And spreads misty dews in the morning,
While pulling her braids in despair all that night
The younger of sisters is moaning,
Sends curses to Leah and God for her doom
Imploring the angel of death to come soon.

As Jacob is dreaming the sweetest of dreams:
The clear well spring in the valley
And Rachel's eyes happily looking at him
Her beautiful voice singing softly:
O, weren't you kissing me, Jacob, with love
And calling me always your black turtledove?


To The Many

I — am your voice, the warmth of your breath,
I — am the reflection of your face,
The futile trembling of futile wings,
I am with you to he end, in any case.

That's why you so fervently love
Me in my weakness and in my sin;
That's why you impulsively gave
Me the best of your sons;
That's why you never even asked
Me for any word of him
And blackened my forever-deserted home
With fumes of praise.
And they say — it's impossible to fuse more closely,
Impossible to love more abandonedly. . .

As the shadow from the body wants to part,
As the flesh from the soul wants to separate,
So I want now — to be forgotten..


Departure


Although this land is not my own,
I will remember its inland sea
and the waters that are so cold
the sand as white
as old bones, the pine trees
strangely red where the sun comes down.

I cannot say if it is our love,
or the day, that is ending.


Alexander By Thebes

I think, the king was fierce, though young,
When he proclaimed, "You’ll level Thebes with ground."
And the old chief perceived this city proud,
He’d seen in times that are in sagas sung.
Set all to fire! The king listed else
The towers, the gates, the temples – rich and thriving…
But sank in thoughts, and said with lighted face,
"You just provide the Bard Home’s surviving."


"So again we triumph!"

So again we triumph!
Again we do not come!
Our speeches silent,
Our words, dumb.
Our eyes that have not met
Again, are lost;
And only tears forget
The grip of frost.
A wild-rose bush near Moscow
Knows something of
This pain that will be called
Immortal love.


Willow


And I grew up in patterned tranquillity,
In the cool nursery of the young century.
And the voice of man was not dear to me,
But the voice of the wind I could understand.
But best of all the silver willow.
And obligingly, it lived
With me all my life; it's weeping branches
Fanned my insomnia with dreams.
And strange!—I outlived it.
There the stump stands; with strange voices
Other willows are conversing
Under our, under those skies.
And I am silent…As if a brother had died.


My Way

One goes in straightforward ways,
One in a circle roams:
Waits for a girl of his gone days,
Or for returning home.

But I do go -- and woe is there --
By a way nor straight, nor broad,
But into never and nowhere,
Like trains -- off the railroad.


Why Is This Age Worse...?

Why is this age worse than earlier ages?
In a stupor of grief and dread
have we not fingered the foulest wounds
and left them unhealed by our hands?

In the west the falling light still glows,
and the clustered housetops glitter in the sun,
but here Death is already chalking the doors with crosses,
and calling the ravens, and the ravens are flying in.


I Hear The Oriole's Always-Grieving Voice

I hear the oriole's always-grieving voice,
And the rich summer's welcome loss I hear
In the sickle's serpentine hiss
Cutting the corn's ear tightly pressed to ear.
And the short skirts of the slim reapers
Fly in the wind like holiday pennants,
The clash of joyful cymbals, and creeping
From under dusty lashes, the long glance.

I don't expect love's tender flatteries,
In premonition of some dark event,
But come, come and see this paradise
Where together we were blessed and innocent.


I Don't Know If You're Alive Or Dead

I don't know if you're alive or dead.
Can you on earth be sought,
Or only when the sunsets fade
Be mourned serenely in my thought?

All is for you: the daily prayer,
The sleepless heat at night,
And of my verses, the white
Flock, and of my eyes, the blue fire.

No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured
Me more, not
Even the one who betrayed me to torture,
Not even the one who caressed me and forgot.


Somewhere there is a simple life

Somewhere there is a simple life and a world,
Transparent, warm and joyful. . .
There at evening a neighbor talks with a girl
Across the fence, and only the bees can hear
This most tender murmuring of all.

But we live ceremoniously and with difficulty
And we observe the rites of our bitter meetings,
When suddenly the reckless wind
Breaks off a sentence just begun —

But not for anything would we exchange this splendid
Granite city of fame and calamity,
The wide rivers of glistening ice,
The sunless, gloomy gardens,
And, barely audible, the Muse's voice.

Solitude

So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them anymore,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat…
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it.


How Can You Bear To Look At The Neva?

How can you bear to look at the Neva?
How can you bear to cross the bridges?.
Not in vain am I known as the grieving one
Since the time you appeared to me.
The black angels' wings are sharp,
Judgment Day is coming soon,
And raspberry-colored bonfires bloom,
Like roses, in the snow.


Song Of The Final Meeting

My breast grew helplessly cold,
But my steps were light.
I pulled the glove from my left hand
Mistakenly onto my right.

It seemed there were so many steps,
But I knew there were only three!
Amidst the maples an autumn whisper
Pleaded: "Die with me!

I'm led astray by evil
Fate, so black and so untrue."
I answered: "I, too, dear one!
I, too, will die with you…"

This is a song of the final meeting.
I glanced at the house's dark frame.
Only bedroom candles burning
With an indifferent yellow flame.


He Did Love

He did love three things in this world:
Choir chants at vespers, albino peacocks,
And worn, weathered maps of America.
And he did not love children crying,
Or tea served with raspberries,
Or woman's hysteria.
...And I was his wife.


"There Are the Words..."

There are the words that couldn’t be twice said,
He, who said once, spent out all his senses.
Only two things have never their end –
The heavens’ blue and the Creator’s mercy.


The Sentence

And the stone word fell
On my still-living breast.
Never mind, I was ready.
I will manage somehow.

Today I have so much to do:
I must kill memory once and for all,
I must turn my soul to stone,
I must learn to live again—

Unless . . . Summer's ardent rustling
Is like a festival outside my window.
For a long time I've foreseen this
Brilliant day, deserted house.


In Memory Of M. B.

Here is my gift, not roses on your grave,
not sticks of burning incense.
You lived aloof, maintaining to the end
your magnificent disdain.
You drank wine, and told the wittiest jokes,
and suffocated inside stifling walls.
Alone you let the terrible stranger in,
and stayed with her alone.

Now you're gone, and nobody says a word
about your troubled and exalted life.
Only my voice, like a flute, will mourn
at your dumb funeral feast.
Oh, who would have dared believe that half-crazed I,
I, sick with grief for the buried past,
I, smoldering on a slow fire,
having lost everything and forgotten all,
would be fated to commemorate a man
so full of strength and will and bright inventions,
who only yesterday it seems, chatted with me,
hiding the tremor of his mortal pain.


Greetings!

    Do you hear the soft rustle
    beside your table?
    Don't bother to write
    for I'll come to you.
   
    Is it possible you are angry
    with me like the last time?
    You say that you don't want to see my hands,
    my hands or my eyes.
   
    I am with you in your bright, simple room.
    Don't chase me away
    to where the cold, murky water
    flows under the bridge.


You Thought I Was That Type

You thought I was that type:
That you could forget me,
And that I'd plead and weep
And throw myself under the hooves of a bay mare,

Or that I'd ask the sorcerers
For some magic potion made from roots and send you a terrible gift:
My precious perfumed handkerchief.

Damn you! I will not grant your cursed soul
Vicarious tears or a single glance.

And I swear to you by the garden of the angels,
I swear by the miracle-working icon,
And by the fire and smoke of our nights:
I will never come back to you.






 
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