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March Elegy Analysis

Author: poem of Anna Akhmatova Type: poem Views: 16

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I have enough treasures from the past

to last me longer than I need, or want.

You know as well as I . . . malevolent memory

won't let go of half of them:

a modest church, with its gold cupola

slightly askew; a harsh chorus

of crows; the whistle of a train;

a birch tree haggard in a field

as if it had just been sprung from jail;

a secret midnight conclave

of monumental Bible-oaks;

and a tiny rowboat that comes drifting out

of somebody's dreams, slowly foundering.

Winter has already loitered here,

lightly powdering these fields,

casting an impenetrable haze

that fills the world as far as the horizon.

I used to think that after we are gone

there's nothing, simply nothing at all.

Then who's that wandering by the porch

again and calling us by name?

Whose face is pressed against the frosted pane?

What hand out there is waving like a branch?

By way of reply, in that cobwebbed corner

a sunstruck tatter dances in the mirror.

Leningrad, 1960

Translated by Stanley Kunitz (with Max Hayward)


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