We’re all boozers and floozies here,
altogether a joyless crowd!
On the walls, the flowers and birds
yearn for clouds.
You sit puffing your black pipe;
smoke is rising; strange and dim.
This tight skirt makes me look
slimmer than slim.
The windows boarded up for good –
what’s out there? Lightning? Snow?
Like those of a cautious cat
your eyes glow.
What is my heart longing for?
Am I waiting for Death’s knell?
And the woman dancing now
is bound for Hell.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
a.k.a. Anna Gorenko
translated by Margo Shohl Rosen