I shall come to you in a dream,
a black ewe that can barely stand;
I’ll stagger up to you and I’ll bleat,
‘Shah of Shahs, have you dined well?
You are protected by Allah’s will,
the world is a bead in your hand…
And did my son’s flesh taste sweet?
Did your children enjoy their lamb?
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
from around the time of Тростник (Reed) / Из шести книг (From the Sixth Book) but left unpublished
translation by Robert Chandler
Fun facts: This poem refers to the arrest of Akhmatova’s son by the authorities during the Stalinist era.
An alternative translation of the same poem was done by D. M. Thomas.