Lying in me, as though it were a white
Stone in the depths of a well, is one
Memory that I cannot, will not, fight:
It is happiness and it is pain.
Anyone looking straight into my eyes
Could not help seeing it, and could not fail
To become thoughtful, more sad and quiet
Than if he were listening to some tragic tale.
I know the gods changed people into things,
Leaving their consciousness alive and free.
To keep alive the wonder of suffering,
You have been metamorphed into me.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (Summer 1916, Slepnyovo)
– from Белая стая (White Flock, 1917) translation by D. M. Thomas