So much to do today:
   kill memory, kill pain,
   turn heart to stone,
   and yet prepare to live again.

-- Anna Akhmatova


Tags: Akhmatova, Russia, poem, poetry

Views: 53

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Short and hard, like life under Stalin.

Amazing how so much can be said with so little.

This stanza is part of a slightly longer poem, "The Sentencing".

Here is my attempt at a literal translation, without rhyme (Russian speakers can find the original at

The word of stone came crashing down

Upon my yet as living breast.

No matter, as I have been prepared,

And shall find some means of tolerating this.


Today I must accomplish many things:

To complete the task of deadening memory,

To render my soul into stone,

To relearn how to live.


But something else… the heated rustle of summer

As if a celebration outside of my window.

I have long ago foreseen this

Bright day and deserted house.

     This was written in 1939.  It could be representative of melancholy over the 1937 purges, or there could be a simpler explanation, such as abandonment by a lover.  Really, the sensations are quite similar.

Thanks for the info Michael.


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