Лондонцам (To The Londoners) by Anna Akhmatova

Shakespeare’s play, his twenty-fourth –

Time is writing it impassively.

By the leaden river what can we,

Who know what such feasts are,

Do, except read Hamlet, Caesar, Lear?

Or escort Juliet to her bed, and christen

Her death, poor dove, with torches and singing;

Or peep through the window at Macbeth,

Trembling with the one who kills from greed –

Only not this one, not this one, not this one,

This one we do not have the strength to read.

.

.

by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)

(1940)

from Седьмая книга (The Seventh Book)

translation by D. M. Thomas

A recital of the poem, in Russian, by Alla Demidova.

Beneath is the original version of the poem in Cyrillic.

Лондонцам

И сделалась война на небе.

Апок.

Двадцать четвертую драму Шекспира

Пишет время бесстрастной рукой.

Сами участники чумного пира,

Лучше мы Гамлета, Цезаря, Лира

Будем читать над свинцовой рекой;

Лучше сегодня голубку Джульетту

С пеньем и факелом в гроб провожать,

Лучше заглядывать в окна к Макбету,

Вместе с наемным убийцей дрожать,—

Только не эту, не эту, не эту,

Эту уже мы не в силах читать!

Published by

MrHearne

Russian and Welsh poetry. Updated every Sunday. Also reviews of literature, films, theatre, food and drink, etc. Any support or engagement is appreciated.

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