Anna Akhmatova Poetry

 

15th year on the web!
Here’s a sound clip of Akhmatova reciting the poem “To the Muse,” from the video the Akhmatova File.
.mp3 file format 173K

Here are some Akhmatova poems translated into
English:

When you’re drunk it’s so much fun –

An early fall has strung

The elms with yellow flags.

We’ve strayed into the land of deceit

And we’re repenting bitterly,

Why then are we smiling these

Strange and frozen smiles?

We wanted piercing anguish

Instead of placid happiness. . .

I won’t abandon my comrade,

So dissolute and mild.

1911 (Paris)

– translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

Complete
Poems of Anna Akhmatova


Originally published (in Russian) in the book
Evening, 1912



How many demands the beloved can make!

The woman discarded, none.

How glad I am that today the water

Under the colorless ice is motionless.

And I stand — Christ help me! –

On this shroud that is brittle and bright,

But save my letters

So that our descendants can decide,

So that you, courageous and wise,

Will be seen by them with greater clarity.

Perhaps we may leave some gaps

In your glorious biography?

Too sweet is earthly drink,

Too tight the nets of love.

Sometime let the children read

My name in their lesson book,

And on learning the sad story,

Let them smile shyly. . .

Since you’ve given me neither love nor peace

Grant me bitter glory.

1913

– translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

Complete
Poems of Anna Akhmatova


Originally published (in Russian) in the book
Rosary, 1914


Somewhere there is a simple life and a world,

Transparent, warm and joyful. . .

There at evening a neighbor talks with a girl

Across the fence, and only the bees can hear

This most tender murmuring of all.

But we live ceremoniously and with difficulty

And we observe the rites of our bitter meetings,

When suddenly the reckless wind

Breaks off a sentence just begun –

But not for anything would we exchange this
splendid

Granite city of fame and calamity,

The wide rivers of glistening ice,

The sunless, gloomy gardens,

And, barely audible, the Muse’s voice.

June 23, 1915

– translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

Complete
Poems of Anna Akhmatova


Originally published (in Russian) in the book

White Flock, 1917.



-Has this century been worse

Than the ages that went before?

Perhaps in this, that in a daze of grief and anguish

It touched, but could not cure, the vilest sore.

In the west the earthly sun is still shining,

And the roofs of the cities gleam in its rays,

But here the white one already chalks crosses on the houses

And summons the crows, and the crows come flying..

Winter 1919

– translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova

Originally published (in Russian) in the book Plantain,
1921.


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 he 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

– translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova

Originally published (in Russian) in the book Anno Domini MCMXXI,
1922.


Wild honey has the scent of freedom,

dust–of a ray of sun,

a girl’s mouth–of a violet,

and gold–has no perfume.

Watery–the mignonette,

and like an apple–love,

but we have found out forever

that blood smells only of blood.

1933

–Translated by Jane Kenyon

Twenty
Poems of Anna Akhmatova


Originally published (in the Russian) in the book Reed, 1924.

 Posted by at 7:52 pm