Anna Akhmatova lived in another place and another time. What is timeless about her and her poetry is her dedication to the true thing. She possessed, and described with lucid awareness, what actually was.

Lucidity is a word often associated with her work. No wonder—she lived through the vivid, frigid, relentless days of totalitarian Russia, enduring hardship upon hardship. Her burdens were those faced by the intelligentsia, those faced by the commoners of her country, and those faced by anyone who was noticed for striding beyond the lockstep that was the requirement of every regime under which she lived.

Throughout it all, Akhmatova told truth to unspeakably inhumane power, retaining her independence and life embrace, redefining courage. She is remembered for what she endured as well as for describing the moments when endurance was set aside. She celebrated one such moment in the poem below.


Along the Hard Crest of the Snowdrift

Along the hard crest of the snowdrift
to my white, mysterious house,
both of us quiet now,
keeping silent as we walk.
and sweeter than any song
this dream we now complete—
the trembling of branches we brush against
that soft ringing of your spurs.

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)
Translated from the Russian by Jane Kenyon

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  • L Sorensen-Jolink March 17, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Thank you for bringing us this poem from Anna Akhmatova. Even for those of us who can experience the language in which she wrote only through translation, Akhamatova is one of the greatest poets, if not the greatest poet, of the twentieth century.

  • Diane Mehta February 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for this vulnerable selection by Akhmatova, slightly unusual for her and much appreciated!

  • Lois February 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for this Sunday morning worship. The word is where prayer begins and ends. A beautiful poem from Anna.