And it seemed to me that there were fires
Flying till dawn without number,
And I never found out things – those
Strange eyes of his – that colour?
Everything trembling and singing and
Were you my enemy or my friend,
Winter was it or summer?
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)
from Седьмая книга (The Seventh Book)
translation by D. M. Thomas
I still find charm in little accidental
trifles, empty little things –
say, in a novel without end or title,
or in this rose, now wilting in my hands.
I like its moiré petals, dappled
with trembling silver drops of rain –
and how I found it on the sidewalk,
and how I’ll toss it in a garbage can.
by Георгий Владимирович Иванов (Georgii Vladimirovich Ivanov)
translated by Boris Dralyuk
My feather was brushing the top of the carriage
And I was looking into his eyes.
There was a pining in my heart
I could not recognise.
The evening was windless, chained
Solidly under a cloudbank,
As if someone had drawn the Bois de Boulogne
In an old album in black Indian ink.
A mingled smell of lilac and benzine,
A peaceful watchfulness.
His hand touched my knees
A second time almost without trembling.
– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (May, 1913)
– from Четки (Rosary, 1914), translation by D. M. Thomas