There is a frontier-line in human closeness
That love and passion cannot violate –
Though in silence mouth to mouth be soldered
And passionate devotion cleave the heart.
Here friendship, too, is powerless, and years
Of that sublime and fiery happiness
When the free soul has broken clear
From the slow languor of voluptuousness.
Those striving towards it are demented, and
If the line seem close enough to broach –
Stricken with sadness… Now you understand
Why my heart does not beat beneath your touch.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (May 1915, St Petersburg)
– from Белая стая (White Flock, 1917) translation by D. M. Thomas