A Song of the Final Meeting, Anna Akhmatova

lingua fennica


Written in 1911, when Akhmatova was twenty-two, this tells of the end of a love affair. As so often, Akhmatova’s playfully fluid metre is difficult to catch. My most blatant liberty was to render “унылой” (“dismal”) as “snarling” – led astray by the quest for a rhyme with “darling”…

Breast so helpless succumbing to chilling,
But with feather-tread airy I paced.
Struggling, frozen left mitten contriving
On right-hand digits to place.

Many journeying paces it seeming –
Yet I knew there were only three!
Midst autumnal-leaved maples, whispering –
It besought me, “Perish with me!

Straying wanderer deceived by snarling
Fickle wicked faith-spending doom.”
Answered I, “O my darling, darling!
You and I’ll go to the tomb…”

Here’s a song of the final meeting.
Cast I glance on dark house’s frame;
Saw the distant and yellow flickering
Candles’ dimly guttering flame.


Так беспомощьно грудь холодела,
Но шаги мои…

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