Anna Andreyevna Gorenko was born on June 23, 1889

Anna Andreyevna Gorenko was born on June 23, 1889. She went on to write some of the greatest poetry of the 20th century under the name of Anna Akhmatova.

From “Requiem”

‘I arrive here as if I’ve come home!’

I’d like to name you all by name, but the list

Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.

So,

I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble

words

I overheard you use. Everywhere, forever and always,

I will never forget one single thing. Even in new

grief.

Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth

Through which one hundred million people scream;

That’s how I wish them to remember me when I am dead

On the eve of my remembrance day.

If someone someday in this country

Decides to raise a memorial to me,

I give my consent to this festivity

But only on this condition – do not build it

By the sea where I was born,

I have severed my last ties with the sea;

Nor in the Tsar’s Park by the hallowed stump

Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me;

Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours

And no-one slid open the bolt.

Listen, even in blissful death I fear

That I will forget the Black Marias,

Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman

Howled like a wounded beast.

Let the thawing ice flow like tears

From my immovable bronze eyelids

And let the prison dove coo in the distance

While ships sail quietly along the river.

 (March 1940. Fontannyi Dom)

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Categories: Literary History, Writers

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