From Northern Elegies

From Northern Elegies - And bears my rightful name Leaving...

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From Northern Elegies By Anna Akhmatova I, like a river, Have been turned aside by this harsh age. I am a substitute. My life has flowed Into another channel And I do not recognize my shores. O, how many fine sights I have missed, How many curtains have risen without me And fallen too. How many of my friends I have not met even once in my life, How many city skylines Could have drawn tears from my eyes, I who know only the one city And by touch, in my sleep, I could find it… And how many poems I have not written, Whose secret chorus swirls around my head And possibly one day Will stifle me… I know the beginnings and the ends of things, And life after the end, and something It isn’t necessary to remember now. And another woman has usurped The place that ought to have been mine,
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Unformatted text preview: And bears my rightful name, Leaving me a nickname, with which I’ve done, I like to think, all that was possible. But I, alas, won’t lie in my own grave. But sometimes a madcap air in spring, Or a combination of words in a chance book, Or somebody’s smile, suddenly Draws me into that non-existent life. In such a year would such have taken place, Something else in another: traveling, seeing, Thinking, remembering, entering a new love Like entering a mirror, with a dull sense Of treason, and a wrinkle that only yesterday Was absent… But if, from that life, I could step aside, And see my life such as it is, today, Then at last I’d know what envy means… Leningrad, 1944...
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