I shall come into your dream
As a black ewe, approach the throne
On withered and infirm
Legs, bleating: ‘Padishah,
Have you dined well? You who hold
The world like a bead, beloved
of Allah, was my little son
To your taste, was he fat enough’
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1930s)
from around the time of Тростник (Reed) / Из шести книг (From the Sixth Book) but left unpublished
translation by D. M. Thomas
Fun facts: This poem refers to the arrest of Akhmatova’s son by the authorities during the Stalinist era.
Here is an alternative translation of the same poem by Robert Chandler.
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