personal favorites / poetry collections… Requiem by Anna Akhmatova / poems & video

Anna Akhmatova

Requiem

 
 

INSTEAD OF A PREFACE

In the awful days of the Yezhovschina I passed seventeen months in the outer waiting line of the prison visitors in Leningrad. Once, somebody ‘identified’ me there. Then a woman, standing behind me in the line, which, of course, never heard my name, waked up from the torpor, typical for us all there, and asked me, whispering into my ear (all spoke only in a whisper there):
“And can you describe this?”
And I answered:
“Yes, I can.”
Then the weak similarity of a smile glided over that, what had once been her face.

April 1, 1957; Leningrad

 
~
 

section 9

Already madness, with its wing,
Covers a half of my heart, restless,
Gives me the flaming wine to drink
And draws into the vale of blackness.

I understand that just to it
My victory has to be given,
Hearing the ravings of my fit,
Now fitting to the stranger’s living.

And nothing of my own past
It’ll let me take with self from here
(No matter in what pleas I thrust
Or how often they appear):

Not awful eyes of my dear son –
The endless suffering and patience –
Not that black day when thunder gunned,
Not that jail’s hour of visitation,

Not that sweet coolness of his hands,
Not that lime’s shade in agitation,
Not that light sound from distant lands –
Words of the final consolations.
 
        (Trans. Yevgeny Bonver)
 
~
 
A video excerpt from the documentary The Anna Akhmatova File:

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~ by samofthetenthousandthings on May 21, 2012.

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