He did not return, even after his death, to
That ancient city he was rooted in.
Going away, he did not pause for breath
Nor look back. My song is for him.
Torches, night, a last embrace,
Fate, a wild howl, at his threshold.
Out of hell he sent her his curse
And in heaven could not forget her.
But never in a penitential shirt did
He walk with a lighted candle and barefoot
Through beloved Florence he could not betray,
Perfidious, base, and self-deserted.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
from Тростник (Reed) / Из шести книг (From the Sixth Book)
translation by D. M. Thomas