A Poem

By Anna Akhmatova, 1917.

Мне голос был. Он звал утешно,
Он говорил: "Иди сюда,
Оставь свой край, глухой и грешный,
Оставь Россию навсегда.
Я кровь от рук твоих отмою,
Из сердца выну черный стыд,
Я новым именем покрою
Боль поражений и обид".

Но равнодушно и спокойно
Руками я замкнула слух,
Чтоб этой речью недостойной
Не осквернился скорбный дух.

I heard a voice. It called, consoling, 
It said to me: "Come hither, now. 
Abandon your forsaken, sinful land, 
Abandon Russia, leave forever. 
And from your hands I'll wash the blood, 
I'll draw the black shame from your heart, 
And with a new name I will cloak 
The wounds of misery and loss." 

But I, dispassionate and calm, 
Concealed my ears beneath my hands, 
To hinder this unworthy speech 
From soiling my mournful soul.
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2 Responses to A Poem

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow. I’m going to go read some more of her poetry. Love it.

  2. Emily says:

    It’s even better in Russian…! I tried to find a better translation but it’s tough to balance the structure and sound of the words with getting the meaning across accurately… Solution? Everyone should learn Russian!

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