Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two by Anna Akhmatova

White Night

Oh, I've not locked the doors,

I've not lit the candles,

you know I'm too tired

to think of sleep

See, how the fields die down,

in the sunset gloom of firs,

and I'm drunk on the sound

of your voice echoing here.

It's fine, that all's black,

that life's--a cursed hell.

O, that you'd come back-

I was so sure, as well.

Evening Room

I speak those words today that come

only once, born in the spirit.

Bees hum on white chrysanthenum:

there's the must of old sachet.

And the room, with twin windows,

preserves love, remembers the past.

Over the bed a French script flows:

it reads: 'Lord, have mercy on us.'

Those saddened marks of so ancient a tale,

you musn't touch, my heart, or seek too...

I see bright Sevres statuettes grow pale:

even as their lustre grows duller too.

A last ray, yellow, heavy,

sets on dahlias' bright bouquet,

and I can hear viols playing,

a clavichord's rare display.

Anna Akhmatova link . The second image is a painting of her in 1922 by the artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin.


Autumnforest said...

Thanks for sharing that. I've never read her before.

Devin said...

Autumnforest-I also only recently discovered her work late last year I think. Robert Littell in his book "The Stalin Epigram" (fiction) talks about Akhmatova, Pasternak Mandelstam and some other Russian poets during Stalin's time -so I was recently reminded of this Akhmatova and these other poets. thanks for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed this -best to you as always my friend!!

benjibopper said...

i guess the bleakness has to do with stalin. they were dark days and she certainly captured that in the first poem.

Alex Robinson said...

Lovely - thanks Devin

Devin said...

Both of these poems really struck me benji-but I agree the first one in particular seemed very sad -thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you are doing great-all the best!!

Alex-so glad you enjoyed these -a bit sad especially the first one-but as our "friend" Elton says -maybe Bernie Taupin would be more accurate:-) "Sad songs say so much" maybe the same with sad poems-best to you as always my friend!!

Ricardo said...

Those are actually some lovely poems. Thank you for sharing them

Devin said...

Ricardo-I really enjoyed these too and also a lot of other work she and other poets in Russia did during this timeframe (the Stalin years and a bit beyond) thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you are doing fantastic-all the best!!