What’s war? What’s plague? We know that they will pass,
Judgement is passed, we see an end to them.
But which of us can cope with this fear, this –
The terror that is named the flight of time?
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
Komarovo, 9 September (1964)
from Седьмая книга (The Seventh Book)
translation by D. M. Thomas
Impossible almost, for you were always here:
In the shade of blessed limes, in hospitals and bockades,
In the prison-cell, and where there were evil birds,
Lush grasses, and terrifying water.
How everything has changed, but you were always here,
And it seems to me that I have lost half my soul,
The half you were – in which I knew the reason why
Something important happened. Now I’ve forgotten…
But your clear voice is calling and it asks me not
To grieve, but wait for death as for a miracle.
What can I do! I’ll try.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
-written at Komarovo, St Petersburg on 9 September 1964
– from Седьмая книга (‘The Seventh Book’)
-translation by D. M. Thomas