In Memoriam, July 19, 1914

By Anna Akhmatova 1889–1966 Anna Akhmatova

Translated By Stephen Edgar Read the translator's notes

We aged a hundred years and this descended
In just one hour, as at a stroke.
The summer had been brief and now was ended;
The body of the ploughed plains lay in smoke.

The hushed road burst in colors then, a soaring
Lament rose, ringing silver like a bell.
And so I covered up my face, imploring
God to destroy me before battle fell.

And from my memory the shadows vanished
Of songs and passions—burdens I'd not need.
The Almighty bade it be—with all else banished—
A book of portents terrible to read.

Source: Poetry (April 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2008
 Anna  Akhmatova

Biography

Anna Akhmatova is regarded as one of the greatest Russian poets. Besides poetry, which constitutes the lion’s share of her literary legacy, she wrote prose—primarily memoirs, autobiographical pieces, and literary scholarship, including her outstanding essays on Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin. She also produced many first-rate translations of Italian, French, Armenian, and Korean poetry. In her lifetime Akhmatova experienced two . . .

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Poems by Anna Akhmatova

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION Russia

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