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Anna Akhmatova
Posted by: Talia (
Date: June 23, 2005 10:14AM

It's the birthday of the poet Anna Akhmatova, (books by this author) born near Odessa, Russia in 1888. She wrote "Requiem" and "Poem Without a Hero," after her son was arrested and sent to a concentration camp. After her former husband was executed in 1921, she burned many of her poems, and for a time she would not write down new ones, so her friends kept them by memorizing them.

"You'll Live, But I'll Not..."

You'll live, but I'll not; perhaps,
The final turn is that.
Oh, how strongly grabs us
The secret plot of fate.

They differently shot us:
Each creature has its lot,
Each has its order, robust, --
A wolf is always shot.

In freedom, wolves are grown,
But deal with them is short:
In grass, in ice, in snow, --
A wolf is always shot.

Don't cry, oh, friend my dear,
If, in the hot or cold,
From tracks of wolves, you'll hear
My desperate recall.

Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, August, 2000
Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, February, 2001
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Re: Anna Akhmatova
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 23, 2005 11:43AM

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Systran does interesting job of translating her page. Cut-and-paste that url into their Web Page box, select Russian to English, and click the translate box:

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Hands goals are higher than the elbow,
But eyes turn bluer than ice.
Caustic, stuffy smell of tar,
As sunburn, to you it goes.
And always, it is always thrown open
Winch of the jacket of blue,
And fisher-woman it is only gasped,
After reddening before you.
Even a girl, who it is ongoing
In the city she sold anchovy,
As lost she wandered
With evenings on to cape.
Cheeks are pale, hands are weak,
The exhausted look is deep,
Feet by it shchekochut crabs,
Creeping out to the sand.
But it no longer is caught
By their lengthened hand.
Increasingly is stronger biyen'e of the blood
In the tele-, wounded by melancholy.

Yeah, could be better, I agree. Still, there remains enough to follow the drift, and a lot of the rhythm even comes through.

Re: Anna Akhmatova
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: June 23, 2005 11:46AM

damn fine indeed, Hugh

Re: Anna Akhmatova
Posted by: Veronika (
Date: June 23, 2005 01:10PM

Lot's Wife
by Anna Akhmatova

And the just man trailed God's shining agent,
over a black mountain, in his giant track,
while a restless voice kept harrying his woman:
"It's not too late, you can still look back

at the red towers of your native Sodom,
the square where once you sang, the spinning-shed,
at the empty windows set in the tall house
where sons and daughters blessed your marriage-bed."

A single glance: a sudden dart of pain
stitching her eyes before she made a sound ...
Her body flaked into transparent salt,
and her swift legs rooted to the ground.

Who will grieve for this woman? Does she not seem
too insignificant for our concern?
Yet in my heart I never will deny her,
who suffered death because she chose to turn.

Translated by Max Hayward and Stanley Kunitz

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