Anna Akhmatova


Anna AkhmatovaAs if on the rim of a cloud,
I remember your words,

And because of my words to you,
Night became brighter than day.

Thus, torn from the earth,
We rose up, like stars.

There was neither despair nor shame,
Not now, not afterward, not at the time.

But in real life, right now,
You hear how I am calling you.

And that door that you half opened,
I don't have the strength to slam.

November 26, 1945

(translated by Judith Hemschemeyer)



For seventeen months I've been crying out,
Calling you home.
I flung myself at the hangman's feet,
You are my son and my horror.
Everything is confused forever,
And it's not clear to me Who is a beast now, who is a man,
And how long before the execution.
And there are only dusty flowers,
And the chinking of the censer, and tracks
From somewhere to nowhere.
And staring me straight in the eyes,
And threatening impending death,
Is an enormous star.


(translated by Judith Hemschemeyer)