So much to do today:
kill memory, kill pain,
turn heart to stone,
and yet prepare to live again.
-- Anna Akhmatova
Short and hard, like life under Stalin.
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 http://er3ed.qrz.ru/achmatova.htm):
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.