I don’t know if you’re alive or dead.
Can you on earth be sought,
Or only when the sunsets fade
Be mourned serenely in my thought?
All is for you: the daily prayer,
The sleepless heat at night,
And of my verses, the white
Flock, and of my eyes, the blue fire.
No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured
Me more, not
Even the one who betrayed me to torture,
Not even the one who caressed me and forgot.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1915)
– from Белая стая (White Flock, 1917) translation by D. M. Thomas