The Cure by R. S. Thomas

But what to do? Doctors in verse

Being scarce now, most poets

Are their own patients, compelled to treat

Themselves first, their complaint being

Peculiar always. Consider, you,

Whose rough hands manipulate

The fine bones of a sick culture,

What areas of that infirm body

Depend solely on a poet’s cure.

 

by R. S. Thomas

from Poetry for Supper (1958)

‘Neither By Cart Nor Boat…’ by Anna Akhmatova

Neither by cart nor boat

Could you have got here.

On rotten snow

The deep water;

Farmsteads marooned and

Ah! that morose

Soul, that Robinson,

Is so close.

How often can

He inspect sledge and skis,

Return to the divan

To sit and wait for me?

And his short spur grinds

Sheer through the vile

Rug. Now mirrors learn

Not to expect smiles.

 

– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1916)

– from Белая стая (White Flock, 1917) translation by D. M. Thomas