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Monday, April 4, 2011

Anna Akhmatova's poems - Thơ Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova (Russian and Ukrainian: А́нна Ахма́това; June 23rd 1889 -- March 5, 1966) was the pen name of the modernist poet Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (Russian: А́нна Андре́евна Горе́нко; Ukrainian: А́нна Андрі́ївна Горе́нко), one of the most acclaimed female writers in the Russian canon.

Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured ones. Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries.

Anna Akhmatova (tiếng Nga tiếng Ukraina: Ахматова Анна; (23-6-18895-3-1966) bút danh của nhà thơ hiện đại Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (tiếng Nga: Анна Андреевна Горенко), một trong những nhà văn nữ nổi tiếng nhất trên văn đàn Nga.

Phạm vi sáng tác của Akhmatova từ thơ trữ tình ngắn tới những bài thơ có cấu trúc phức tạp. Phong cách của bà, mà đặc trưng bởi sự kiệm lời kiềm chế cảm xúc, đã nổi bật với tính sáng tạo mạnh mẽ khác biệt với những người cùng thời với bà.

I would like you to help me by offering any Vietnamese translation for these poems by Anna Akhmatova. Thank you very much. Các bạn có thể giúp sức bằng cách gởi bản dịch cho các bài thơ sau đây của Anna Akhmatova. Cám ơn nhiều.

Anna Akhmatova

Forty-Five Poems

Anna Akhmatova

Bốn mươi lăm thi khúc

‘Now the pillow’s,’

Now the pillow’s,

hot on both sides.

A second candle

dies, the ravens cry

there, endlessly.

No sleep all night,

too late to think of sleep…

How unbearably white

the blind’s white deep.

Hello, Morning!

Reading Hamlet

To the right, wasteland by the cemetery,

beyond it the river’s dull blue.

You said: ‘Go, get thee, to a nunnery

or get a fool to marry you…’

Though that’s always how Princes speak,

still, I’ve remembered the words.

As an ermine mantle let them stream,

behind him, through endless years.

‘Hands clasped under the dark veil.’

Hands clasped, under the dark veil.

‘Today, why are you so pale?’

- Because I’ve made him drink his fill

of sorrow’s bitter tale.

How could I forget? He staggered,

his mouth twisted with pain…

I ran down not touching the rail,

I ran all the way to the gate.

‘I was joking,’ I cried, breathlessly.

‘If you go away, I am dead.’

Smiling strangely, calmly,

‘Don’t stand in the wind,’ he said.

‘Memory of sun ebbs from the heart.’

Memory of sun ebbs from the heart.

Grass fades early.

Wind blows the first snowflakes

barely, barely.

Freezing water can’t flow

along these narrow channels.

Nothing happens here, oh

nothing can happen.

A willow against the sky

spreads its transparent fan.

Perhaps its better, if I

don’t accept your hand.

Memory of sunlight ebbs from the heart.

What’s this? Darkness?

Perhaps!...In the night

winter has overcome us.

‘A grey cloud in the sky overhead,’

A grey cloud, in the sky overhead,

like a squirrel skin uncurled.

‘I’m not sorry your body,’ he said,

‘will melt in March, frail snow-girl!’

In the fluffy muff my hands grew cold.

I felt afraid, somehow confused.

How to recall the swift weeks’ flow,

his short-lived insubstantial love!

I don’t want bitterness or revenge,

let me die with the last snow-storm.

My fortune told of him at year’s end.

I was his before February was born.

Song of the Last Meeting

My heart was chilled and numb,

but my feet were light.

I fumbled the glove for my left hand

onto my right.

It seemed there were many steps,

I knew – there were only three.

Autumn, whispering in the maples,

kept urging: ‘Die with me!

I’m cheated by joylessness,

changed by a destiny untrue.’

I answered: ‘My dear, my dear!

I too: I’ll die with you.’

The song of the last meeting.

I see that dark house again.

Only bedroom candles burning,

the yellow, indifferent, flame.

‘I’ve written down the words’

I’ve written down the words

that I’ve not dared to speak.

My body’s strangely dumb.

Dully my head beats.

The horn cries have died.

The heart’s still confused.

On the croquet lawn, light

autumn snowflakes fused.

Let the last leaves rustle!

Let last thoughts torment!

I don’t wish to trouble

those used to happiness.

I forgive those lips, eyes

of yours, their cruel jest…

oh, tomorrow we’ll ride

that first wintry sledge.

Drawing-room candles will glow

more tenderly in the day.

Of conservatory roses

I’ll bring a whole bouquet.

‘I came here, in idleness.’

I came here, in idleness.

Where I’m bored: all the same to me!

A sleepy hilltop mill, yes,

here years pass silently.

Over convolvulus gone dry

the bee swims past, ahead,

I call to that mermaid by

the pond: the mermaid’s dead.

Thick with mud, and rusted,

the wide pond’s shallows:

over the trembling aspen

a weightless moon glows.

I see everything freshly.

The poplars smell moist.

I’m silent. Silent, ready

to be yours again, earth.

White Night

Oh, I’ve not locked the door,

I’ve not lit the candles,

you know I’m too tired

to think of sleep.

See, how the fields die down,

in the sunset gloom of firs,

and I’m drunk on the sound

of your voice, echoing here.

It’s fine, that all’s black,

that life’s – a cursed hell.

O, that you’d come back –

I was so sure, as well.

Evening Room

I speak those words, today, that come

only once, born in the spirit.

Bees hum on white chrysanthemum:

there’s the must of an old sachet.

And the room, with its thin windows,

preserves love, remembers the past.

Over the bed a French script flows:

it reads: ‘Lord, have mercy on us.’

Those saddened marks of so ancient a tale,

you mustn’t touch, my heart, or seek to…

I see bright Sèvres statuettes grow pale:

even as their lustre grows duller too.

A last ray, yellow, heavy,

sets on the dahlias’ bright bouquet,

and I can hear viols playing,

a clavichord’s rare display.

Legend on An Unfinished Portrait

Oh, there’s no reason for sighs,

sadness is pointless, a crime,

here, from grey canvas, I rise,

vaguely, strangely through time.

Arms lifted, freely broken off,

a tormented smile on my face,

I was forced to become like this

through hours of mutual grace.

He wished it so, he willed it so,

with words, spiteful and dead.

Anxiety clotted my mouth, oh

my cheeks with snow were wed.

It’s no sin of his, it seems,

other eyes, he left to see,

no matter these empty dreams

of my mortal lethargy.

‘He loved three things, alive:’

He loved three things, alive:

white peacocks, songs at eve,

and antique maps of America.

Hated when children cried,

and raspberry jam with tea,

and feminine hysteria.

…and he had married me.

A Ride

My feather brushed the carriage roof.

I was gazing into his eyes.

A pain, in my heart I failed to know,

caused by my own sighs.

The evening breathless, heavily-chained

under a heavenly cloud-bank,

as if the Bois de Boulogne were stained,

in some old album, with Indian ink.

Scent of lilac and benzene,

and a quiet, guarded waiting…

with his hand he touched my knees

again, and without trembling.

‘I won’t beg for your love.’

I won’t beg for your love.

It’s safely laid aside….

I won’t be penning jealous

letters to your bride.

But be wise, take my advice:

give her my poems to read,

give her my photos beside –

be kind to the newly-wed!

Oh, knowledge is better for geese,

feeling they’ve won completely,

than sweet companionable speech,

or a tender first-night memory…

and when you’ve spent all your

kopecks of joy with your dear friend,

and your spirit’s sated with it all,

and suddenly you’re ashamed –

don’t come – I’ll fail to know you –

to me, night’s crestfallen guest.

For how could I help you?

I’m not cured of happiness.


In the garden strains of music,

full of inexpressible sadness.

Scent of the sea, pungent, fresh,

on an ice bed, a dish of oysters.

He said to me: ‘I’m a true friend!’

and then touched my dress.

How unlike an embrace

the closeness of his caress.

Thus, you stroke birds or cats, yes,

thus you view shapely performers…

in his calm eyes only laughter,

beneath pale-gold eyelashes.

And the voices of sad viols

sang behind drifting vapour:

‘Give thanks to heaven, then –

you’re alone at last with your lover.’

‘Here we’re all drunkards and whores,

Here we’re all drunkards and whores,

joylessly stuck together!

On the walls, birds and flowers

pine for the clouds and air.

The smoke from your black pipe

makes strange vapours rise.

The skirt I wear is tight,

revealing my slim thighs.

Windows tightly closed:

who’s there, frost or thunder?

Your eyes, are they those

of some cautious cat, I wonder?

O, my heart how you yearn!

Is it for death you wait?

Or that girl, dancing there,

for hell to be her sure fate?

And no-one came to meet me

…And no-one came to meet me

carrying a lantern.

The house quiet: my entry

by moonlight uncertain.

Under the green lamp,

his smile was lifeless,

whispering: ‘Cinderella,

how strange your voice…’

Flames of the fire dying:

wearily, cricket chirping.

Ah! Someone’s taken my

white shoe into their keeping.

Given me three carnations

without raising their eyes.

O, dear tokens,

where can you hide?

My heart’s bitter too

knowing soon, soon,

my little white shoe

will be tried by everyone.

‘Always so many pleas from a lover!’

Always so many pleas from a lover!

None when they fall out of love.

I’m so glad it plunges, the river,

beneath colourless ice above.

And I’m to stand – God help me! –

on the surface, fissured, gleaming,

with my letters, for posterity

to judge, in your safe keeping,

so that clearly, and distinctly,

they can see you, brave and wise,

in your glorious biography,

no gaps revealed to the eye?

To drink of Earth’s too sweet,

and Love’s nets are too fine.

But may my name be seen

in the students’ books in time,

and, let them smile, secretly,

on reading my sad story…

if I can’t have love, if I can’t have peace,

grant me a bitter glory.

The high vault’s bluer

The high vault’s bluer

than the sky’s solid blue…

forgive me, happy boy,

the death I brought you –

for the roses from every place,

for your foolish words,

that your bold dark face

pale with love, stirred.

I thought: your purpose –

to show an adult’s pride.

I thought it’s not possible:

love, as one loves a bride.

I was wrong in every way.

When the weather grew icy,

everywhere, and always,

you followed, impassively,

as if you wanted to show

I’d no love for you. Forgive!

Why did you take that vow

on the path to suffering?

And death held out its hand…oh,

speak, why then, what for?

I didn’t know how frail your throat

was, under the blue collar.

Happy boy, my tormented

owlet, oh, forgive me!

Today, I find it hard

to leave this sanctuary.

For M. Lozinsky

It’s endless – the heavy, amber day!

Impossible grief, pointless waiting!

And the silver-voiced deer, again,

in the Northern Lights’ park, belling.

And I think there’s cold snow

a blue font for the poor and ill,

and a little sledge’s headlong flow,

to the ancient chime of far-off bells.

Memory’s Voice

For O. A. Glebova-Sudeikina

‘What do you see, on the wall, dimly alive,

at the hour when the sunset eats the sky?

A seagull, on a blue cloth of waters,

or perhaps it’s those Florentine gardens?

Or is it Tsarskoye Seloe’s vast view,

where terror stepped out before you?

Or that one who left your captivity,

and walked into white death, freely?’

No, I see only the wall – that shows

reflections of heaven’s dying glow.

8th November 1913

Sunlight fills my room

with hot dust, lucent, grey.

I wake, and I remember:

today is your saint’s day.

That’s why even the snow

is warm beyond the window,

that’s why, sleeplessly,

like a communicant, I slept.

The Guest

All’s as it was: the snowstorm’s

fine flakes wet the window pane,

and I myself am not new-born,

but a man came to me today.

I asked: ‘What do you seek?’

He said: ‘To be with you in hell’.

I laughed: ‘Ah, unfortunately,

no: perhaps you wish me ill.’

But, his dry hand touched

a petal with a light caress:

‘Tell me, how they kiss you,

Tell me, how you kiss.’

And his eyes, dully gazing,

never lifted from my ring.

not a single muscle shifting

beneath that evil-glistening.

O, I know: to know passionately

and intensely is his delight

there’s nothing that he needs,

nothing I can deny.

For Alexander Blok

I came to the poet as a guest.

Exactly at noon. On Sunday.

Beyond the window, frost,

quiet in the room’s space.

And a raspberry tinted sun

above tangles of blue smoke…

How clearly the taciturn

master turns, on me, his look!

His eyes are of that kind

remembered by one and all:

Better take care, mind:

don’t gaze at them at all.

But I remember our words,

smoky noon, of a Sunday,

in that high grey house

by the Neva’s sea-way.


So many stones are thrown at me

that I no longer cower,

the turret’s cage is shapely,

high among high towers.

My thanks, to its builders,

may they escape pain and woe,

here, I see suns rise earlier,

here, their last splendours glow.

And often winds from northern seas

fill the windows of my sanctuary,

and a dove eats corn from my palm…

and divinely light and calm,

the Muse’s sunburnt hand’s at play,

finishing my unfinished page.

There’s a secret border in human closeness,

There’s a secret border in human closeness,

that love’s being, love’s passion, cannot pass –

though lips are sealed together in sacred silence,

though hearts break in two with love’s distress.

And friendship too is powerless, and years

of sublime flame-filled ecstasy

when the soul itself is free, fights clear,

of the slow languor of sensuality.

Those who try to reach that boundary are mad,

and those who have – are filled with anguish.

Now you know, now you understand,

why my heart won’t beat at your caress.

Like one betrothed I receive

Like one betrothed I receive

a letter at each day’s end,

and late at night conceive

an answer for my friend.

‘On my journey to the dark,

I’m staying with white death.

Do no harm, my gentle one,

to anyone on earth.’

Brighter, a star is shining

between that pair of trees,

so calmly promising

that what I dream will be.


For O. A. Kuzmin-Karavaev

‘If we can only reach the shore,

my dear!’ – ‘Silently…’

And so we slipped down the stair,

not breathing, searching for keys.

Past the place where we once

danced, and drank the wine,

past the Senate’s white columns,

to where it was dark as a mine.

‘What are you doing, you’re crazy!’ –

‘No, just in love with you!

This breeze – wide and windy,

will delight a boat or two!’

Throat constrained with horror,

the skiff carried us in darkness…

a sea-cable’s strong odour

burnt my quivering nostrils.

‘Tell me, you surely must know:

am I sleeping? So like a dream…’

Only the oars measured blows,

on the Neva’s heavy stream.

But the black sky lightened,

someone called from a bridge,

with both hands I grasped

the cross’s chain at my breast.

Powerless, I was lifted, like

a young girl, in your arms,

onto the white yacht’s deck,

to meet day’s incorruptible charms.

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead –

Can you be found on earth, though,

or only in twilit thoughts instead

be mourned for, in that peaceful glow.

All for you: the prayer daily,

the hot sleeplessness at night,

the white flock of poetry,

and the blue fire of my eyes.

No one was cherished more,

or tormented me so, no not

him, who betrayed me to torture,

nor him, who caressed and forgot.

Like a white stone in a well’s depths

Like a white stone in a well’s depths,

a single memory remains to me,

that I can’t, won’t fight against:

It’s happiness – and misery.

I think someone who gazed full

in my eyes, would see it straight.

They’d be sad, be thoughtful,

as if hearing a mournful tale.

I know the gods changed people

to things, yet left consciousness free,

to keep suffering’s wonder alive still.

In memory, you changed into me.

From: Anno Domini

‘Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,’

Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,

black death’s wing’s overhead.

Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,

so why does a light shine ahead?

By day, a mysterious wood, near the town,

breathes out cherry, a cherry perfume.

By night, on July’s sky, deep, and transparent,

new constellations are thrown.

And something miraculous will come

close to the darkness and ruin,

something no-one, no-one, has known,

though we’ve longed for it since we were children.


White churches there, and bright crackling ice,

there my son’s cornflower-blue eyes blossom.

Above the old town, nights are diamond-bright, Russian:

more yellow than lime-flower honey, the moon’s slice.

Dry snow-storms blow from the plains beyond the river,

and, like angels, men are glad on God’s Holy Day.

They’ve cleared the best room, icon lamps play,

on the oak table you’ll see the Good Book’s cover.

There, ungenerous to me now, Memory so severe,

bowed low, opened her tower rooms as well;

but I slammed the fearful door, did not enter:

while the town rang with cheerful Christmas bells.

Note: Bezhetsk is about 140 miles north of Moscow in the Tverskaya Oblast Region.

The poem is dated 26th December 1921.

Lot’s Wife

The just man followed God’s messenger,

vast and bright against the black hill,

but care spoke in the woman’s ear:

‘There’s time, you can look back still,

at Sodom’s red towers where you were born,

the square where you sang, where you’d spin,

the high windows of your dark home,

where your children’s life entered in.

She looked, and was transfixed by pain,

uncertain whether she could still see,

her body had turned to translucent salt,

her quick feet rooted there, like a tree.

A loss, but who still mourns the breath

of one woman, or laments one wife?

Though my heart never can forget,

how, for one look, she gave up her life.

Note: The reference is to Lot’s wife in the Bible, Genesis 19:26


When I wait, at night, for her to come,

life, it seems, hangs by a strand.

What are honour, youth, freedom,

next to the dear guest, flute in hand?

And now she enters. Throws aside

her veil, gazing deep in my eyes.

I ask her: ‘Was that you, Dante’s guide

Dictating, in Hell?’ She answers: ‘I’

To An Artist

In every work of yours I find,

fruit of your twice-blessed labours,

gold of ever-autumnal limes,

blue of fresh-created waters.

Think of them, and the lightest slumber

leads me into your park, already,

where each turning seems fearful,

seeking your tracks, unconsciously.

Shall I walk beneath this arch, transmuted by

the movement of your hand, into the sky,

in order to cool my shameful heat?...

There I’ll be forever blessed

and my burning eyes find rest,

there I’ll regain the gift, I’ll weep.

The Last Toast

I drink to our ruined house,

to all of life’s evils too,

to our mutual loneliness,

and I, I drink to you –

to eyes, dead and cold,

to lips, lying and treacherous,

to the age, coarse, and cruel,

to the fact no god has saved us.


For Osip Mandelshtam

And the town is frozen solid in a vice,

Trees, walls, snow, beneath the glass.

Over crystal, on slippery tracks of ice,

painted sleighs and I, together, pass.

And over St Peter’s poplars, crows

a pale green dome there that glows,

dim in sun-shrouded dust.

The field of heroes lingers in my thought,

Kulikovo’s barbarian battleground caught.

Frozen poplars, like glasses for a toast,

clash now, more noisily, overhead.

As though at our wedding, and the crowd

drinking our health and happiness.

But Fear and the Muse take turns to guard

the room where the exiled poet is banished,

and the night, marching at full pace,

of approaching dawn, has no knowledge.

Note: The field of Kulikovo was the scene of a famous battle against the Tartar Horde in 1378. Mandelshtam was exiled for a time to Voronezh, south of Moscow on the River Don.


She has already kissed Antony’s dead lips,

already wept on her knees before Augustus…

and her servants have betrayed her. Trumpets

cry below Roman eagles, the gloom of dusk.

Noble and stately, stammering with confusion

now enters the last prisoner of her beauty,

‘You – like a slave…

he’ll lead me in triumph before him…’

but her swanlike neck still bends peacefully.

Tomorrow her children. O, what littleness

is left to do on earth – only toy with this fool,

and, indifferently, like a parting kindness

lay the black snake to her dark breast too.


‘What does a certain woman know

of the hour of her death?’ - Mandelshtam

Tallest, most suave of us, why Memory,

forcing you to appear from the past, pass

down a train, swaying, to find me

clear profiled through the window-glass?

Angel or bird? How we debated!

The poet thought you translucent straw.

Through dark lashes, your eyes, Georgian,

looked out, with gentleness, on it all.

Shade, forgive. Blue skies, Flaubert,

insomnia, late-blooming lilac flower,

bring you, and the magnificence of the year,

nineteen-thirteen, to mind, and your

unclouded temperate afternoon, memory

difficult for me now – Oh, shade!

The souls of those I love are on high stars

The souls of those I love are on high stars.

How good that there’s no-one left to lose

and one can weep. All created in order

to sing songs, this air of Tsarskoye Selo’s.

The river bank’s silver willow

touches the bright September stream.

Rising from the past, my shadow

is running in silence to meet me.

So many lyres hung on branches here,

but it seems there’s room for mine too.

And this shower, sun-drenched, rare,

brings me consolation, good news.

Two Poems

Desolate the victories

of mysterious non-meeting,

phrases unspoken,

voiceless words.

Un-meeting glances

not knowing where to rest:

and tears alone are glad

to go on flowing.

Wild roses, ah, near Moscow

are in it! Who knows why…

and all this will be called

immortal passion.


‘You are with me again, Autumn, my friend!’


Others in the south may still linger,

basking in the paradise garden.

Here it’s northerly, and this year

for my friend I’ve chosen autumn.

I’ve brought here the blessed memory

of my last non-meeting with you –

the pure flame of my victory

over fate, so cold, and pure, too.


There will be thunder then. Remember me.

Say: ‘She asked for storms.’ This entire

world will be the colour of crimson stone,

and your heart, as then, will turn to fire.

That day, in Moscow, a true prophecy,

when for the last time I say goodbye,

soaring to the heavens I longed to see,

leaving my shadow here in the sky.


No, not under a foreign sky,

no not cradled by foreign wings –

Then, I was with my people, I,

with my people, there, sorrowing.