Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Anna Akhmatova: 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 the 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.

September 1922

Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems, Expanded Edition, Translated
by Judith Hemschemeyer, Zephyr Press (Boston),
Canongate Press (Edinburgh), 1994 (2nd printing)

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