And with you, my first vagary,
I parted. In the east it turned blue.
You said simply: ‘I won’t forget you.’
I didn’t know at first what you could mean.
Rise and set, the other faces,
Dear today, and tomorrow gone.
Why is it that at this page
Alone the corner is turned down?
And eternally the book opens
Here, as if it’s the only part
I must know. From the parting moment
The unreturning years haven’t departed.
O, the heart is not made of stone
As I said, it’s made of flame…
I’ll never understand it. Are you close
To me, or did you simply love me?
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1911, Tsarskoye Selo)
– from Вечер (Evening, 1912), translation by D. M. Thomas