Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova, was a Russian and Soviet modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.
Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935–40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. The strong and clear leading female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry. Her writing can be said to fall into two periods - the early work (1912–25) and her later work (from around 1936 until her death), divided by a decade of ... more »
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Anna Akhmatova Poems
Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded, black death’s wing’s overhead. Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated, so why does a light shine ahead?
I Taught Myself to Live Simply
I taught myself to live simply and wisely, to look at the sky and pray to God, and to wander long before evening to tire my superfluous worries.
Not under foreign skies Nor under foreign wings protected - I shared all this with my own people There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
You Will Hear Thunder
You will hear thunder and remember me, And think: she wanted storms. The rim Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson, And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.
For Osip Mandelstam And the town is frozen solid in a vice, Trees, walls, snow, beneath a glass.
Celebrate our anniversary – can’t you see tonight the snowy night of our first winter comes back again in every road and tree - that winter night of diamantine splendour.
Twenty-First. Night. Monday
Twenty-first. Night. Monday. Silhouette of the capitol in darkness. Some good-for-nothing -- who knows why-- made up the tale that love exists on earth.
I Don't Know If You're Alive Or Dead
I don't know if you're alive or dead. Can you on earth be sought, Or only when the sunsets fade Be mourned serenely in my thought?
You Thought I Was That Type
You thought I was that type: That you could forget me, And that I'd plead and weep And throw myself under the hooves of a bay mare,
Memory of Sun
Memory of sun seeps from the heart. Grass grows yellower. Faintly if at all the early snowflakes Hover, hover.
And the stone word fell On my still-living breast. Never mind, I was ready. I will manage somehow.
How can you bear to look at the Neva?
How can you bear to look at the Neva? How can you bear to cross the bridges?. Not in vain am I known as the grieving one Since the time you appeared to me.
Under Her Dark Veil
Under her dark veil she wrung her hands. "Why are you so pale today?" "Because I made him drink of stinging grief Until he got drunk on it.
So many stones have been thrown at me, That I'm not frightened of them anymore, And the pit has become a solid tower, Tall among tall towers.
Quotationsmore quotations »
''The triumphs of a mysterious non-meeting are desolate ones; unspoken phrases, silent words.''Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), Russian poet. "Two Poems," no. 2, l. 1 (1956), trans. by Dimitri Obolensky (1965).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine ahead?
By day, a mysterious wood, near the town,
breathes out cherry, a cherry perfume.
By night, on July’s sky, deep, and transparent,
new constellations are thrown.
And something miraculous will come
close to the darkness and ruin,
something no-one, no-one, has known,
though we’ve longed for it since we were children.