Sunday, May 30, 2004


The mountains bend before this grief,
the great river does not flow,
but the prison locks are strong
and behnd them the convicts’ holes,
and a deathly sadness.
For someone the fresh wind blows,
for someone the sunset basks...
We don’t know, we are the same everywhere;
we only hear the repellent clank of keys,
the heavy steps of the soldiers.
We rose as though to early mass,
and went through the savage capital,
and we used to meet there, more lifeless than the dead,
the sun lower, the Neva mistier,
but in the distance hope still sings.
Condemned...Immediately the tears start,
one woman, already isolated from everyone else,
as though her life had been wrenched from her heart,
as though she had been smashed flat on her back,
still, she walks on...staggers...alone...
Where now are the chance friends
of my two hellish years?
What do they see in the Siberian blizzard,
what comes to them in the moon’s circle?
I send them my farewell greeting.

March 1940
Anna Akhmatova