No more Europe, no more America.
The end of Tsarskoye, of Moscow, too.
A fit of nuclear hysteria –
life atomized into a radiant blue.
Transparent, all-forgiving haze will stretch
over the seas. And he who could have done
something yet chose not to, will be left
in the expanse of pre-eternity, alone.
by Георгий Владимирович Иванов (Georgii Vladimirovich Ivanov)
by Robert Chandler
Surely the young king must have been blind to pity
As he spoke the order: ‘Destroy Thebes utterly.’
The old general gazed, and knew this place to be
No better than he remembered it, a haughty city.
Put it all to the fire! There were wonders – gate
And tower and temple – everywhere the king searched,
But suddenly his face brightened with a thought:
‘Be sure that the house of the Poet is not touched.’
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova), Leningrad, 1961, October
– from Седьмая книга (The Seventh Book)
– translation by D. M. Thomas
I will try to upload Russian poetry, or reviews of things concerning the Russian Revolution and Soviet era, daily during this month as it is the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution. I might end up posting one or two other things too.
My breast grew cold and numb,
But my feet were light.
On to my right hand I fumbled
The glove to my left hand.
It seemed that there were many steps
-I knew there were only three.
An autumn whisper between the maples
Kept urging: ‘Die with me.
Change has made me weary,
Fate has cheated me of everything.’
I answered: ‘My dear, my dear!
I’ll die with you. I too am suffering.’
It was a song of the last meeting.
Only bedroom-candles burnt
When I looked into the dark house,
And they were yellow and indifferent.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1911, Tsarskoye Selo)
– from Вечер (Evening, 1912), translation by D. M. Thomas