''It was a time when only the deadAnna Akhmatova (1889-1966), Russian poet. "Requiem," introduction, trans. by Richard McKane (1985). Though Akhmatova's long poem about the Stalinist purgesduring which time her only son was arrestedwas written mainly 1935-1940, it was not published until 1963 in West Germany, and not in its entirety in the Soviet Union until 1987.
smiled, happy in their peace.
Stars of Death stood over us,
and innocent Russia squirmed
under the bloody boots,
under the wheels of black Marias.''
''The triumphs of a mysterious non-meeting are desolate ones; unspoken phrases, silent words.''Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), Russian poet. "Two Poems," no. 2, l. 1 (1956), trans. by Dimitri Obolensky (1965).
''Wild honey smells of freedomAnna Akhmatova (1889-1966), Russian poet. "Wild Honey Smells of Freedom," lines 1-4, as translated by Lenore Mayhew and William McNaughton (1943).
The dustof sunlight
The mouth of a young girl, like a violet
But goldsmells of nothing.''
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I Wrung My Hands
I wrung my hands under my dark veil. . .
"Why are you pale, what makes you reckless?"
-- Because I have made my loved one drunk
with an astringent sadness.
I'll never forget. He went out, reeling;
his mouth was twisted, desolate. . .
I ran downstairs, not touching the banisters,
and followed him as far as the gate.