Freshness of words, simplicity of emotions,
If we lost these, would it not be as though
Blindness had stricken Fra Angelico,
Or an actor lost his power of voice and motion?
But don’t behave as if you own
What has been given you by the Saviour:
We ourselves know, we are condemned to squander
Our wealth, and not to save. Alone
Go out and heal the cataract,
And later, witness your own disciples’
Malice and jeers, and see the people’s
Stolid indifference to the act.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1915)
– from Белая стая (White Flock, 1917) translation by D. M. Thomas