I walked without dragging my feet
but felt heavy at heart and frightened;
and I pulled onto my left hand
the glove that belonged to the right.
There seemed to be countless steps,
though I knew there were only three,
and an autumn voice from maples
whispered, ‘Die with me!
I have been undone by a fate
that is cheerless, flighty and cruel.’
I repied, ‘So have I, my dearest –
let me die one death with you…’
The song of a last encounter:
I glanced up at a dark wall:
from the bedroom indifferent candles
glowed yellow… And that was all.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
(1911, Tsarkoye Selo)
from Вечер (Evening, 1912)
translation by Robert Chandler
This is an alternative version of same poem translated as Song of the Last Meeting by D. M. Thomas.
To fall ill as one should, deliriously
Hot, meet everyone again,
To stroll broad avenues in the seashore garden
Full of the wind and the sun.
Even the dead, today, have agreed to come,
And the exiles, into my house.
Lead the child to me by the hand.
Long I have missed him.
I shall eat blue grapes with those who are dead,
Drink the iced
Wine, and watch the grey waterfall pour
On to the damp flint bed.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1922)
– from Anno Domini MCMXXI translation by D. M. Thomas
My breast grew cold and numb,
But my feet were light.
On to my right hand I fumbled
The glove to my left hand.
It seemed that there were many steps
-I knew there were only three.
An autumn whisper between the maples
Kept urging: ‘Die with me.
Change has made me weary,
Fate has cheated me of everything.’
I answered: ‘My dear, my dear!
I’ll die with you. I too am suffering.’
It was a song of the last meeting.
Only bedroom-candles burnt
When I looked into the dark house,
And they were yellow and indifferent.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1911, Tsarskoye Selo)
– from Вечер (Evening, 1912), translation by D. M. Thomas