Love Me. I Am Pitch Black by Maria Petrovykh

Love me. I am pitch black,

sinful, blind, confused.

But if not you, then who else

is going to love me? Face

to face, and fate to fate.

See how stars shine bright

in the dark sky. Love me

simply, simply, as day

loves night and night loves day.

You have no choice. I am

pure night, and you – pure light.

 

by Мария Сергеевна Петровых (Maria Sergeyevna Petrovykh)

(1942)

translated by Robert Chandler


A complete rendition though this version uses shorter, irregular, lines in its translation.

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Legend On An Unfinished Portrait by Anna Akhmatova

There’s nothing to be sad about.

Sadness is a crime, a prison.

A strange impression, I have risen

From the grey canvas like a sheet.

 

Up-flying arms, with a bad break,

Tormented smile – I and the sitter

Had to become thus through the bitter

Hours of profligate give and take.

 

He willed it that it should be so,

With words that were sinister and dead.

Fear drove into my lips the red,

And into my cheeks it piled the snow.

 

No sin in him. I was his fee.

He went, and arranged other limbs,

And other draparies. Void of dreams,

I lie in mortal lethargy.

 

– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1912)

– from Вечер (Evening, 1912), translation by D. M. Thomas