Grant me years of sickness and fever;
make me sleepless for months at a time.
Take away my child and my lover
and the mysterious gift of rhyme.
As the air grows ever more sultry,
this is the prayer I recite:
and may the storm cloud over my country
be shot through with rays of light.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
(11 May 1915, Day of the Holy Spirit), St Petersburg