Anna Akhmatova

(23 June 1889 – 5 March 1966 / Odessa)

To The Muse - Poem by Anna Akhmatova

The Muse my sister looked in my face,
her gaze was bright and clear,
and she took away my golden ring,
the gift of the virginal year.

Muse! everyone else is happy –
girls, wives, widows – all around!
I swear I’d rather die on the rack
than live fettered and bound.

In time I’ll join the guessing-game,
pluck petals from the daisy’s wheel.
Each creature on this earth, I know,
must suffer love’s ordeal.

Tonight I pine for no one,
alone in my candlelit room;
but I don’t-don’t-don’t want to know
who’s kissing whom.

At dawn the mirrors, mocking, will say:
“Your gaze is not bright or clear.”
I’ll sigh: “The Muse my sister came
and took the gift of gifts away.”

1912
from Vercher (Evening), Poets Guild
(Translated by Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward)


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, March 1, 2012


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