Monday, September 7, 2009

Anna Akhmatova

I love the sadness in this poet's face and I love her poems.

Memories have three epochs.
And the first is like yesterday.
The soul is under their blessed vault,
and the body is in the bliss of their shadow.
Laughter has not died down and the tears stream,
the ink stain is unwiped on the table,
the kiss is imprinted on the heart,
unique, parting, unforgettable...
But this does not last for long...
The firmament is no longer overhead, and somewhere
in a dull suburb there is a lonely house,
where it's cold in winter and hot in summer,
where a spider lives and dust lies on everything,
where passionate letters burn to ash,
portraits change stealthily,
and people come to it as though to a grave,
and wash their hands when they get home,
and shake off a quick tear
from their tired lids, and sigh heavily...
But the clocks tick, one spring
replaces another, the sky turns pink,
names of towns change,
and eye-witnesses of events die,
and there is no one to cry with, no one to reminisce with.
Those shadows pass from us slowly
which we no longer call upon,
whose return would be terrible to us.
And once awake, we see that we have forgotten
the very road that led to the lonely house,
and choking with shame and anger,
we run to it, but (as in a dream)
everything is different there: people, things, walls,
and nobody knows us; we are strangers.
We got to the wrong place...Oh God!
Now comes the most bitter moment:
we realize that we could not contain
this past in the frontiers of our life,
and it is almost as alien to us
as to our neighbor in the flat,
and that we would not recognize those who have died,
and those whom God parted from us
got on splendidly without us -
even better...

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