Recording of Anna Akhmatova reading her poem
‘Mayakovsky in 1913’
Я тебя в твоей не знала славе,
Помню только бурный твой рассвет.*
On a recording of Anna Akhmatova reading her poem
‘Mayakovsky in 1913’,
I hear my grandmother’s soft Ls and the rhythm
of her speech.
I let it play like a chant
that could return something to me.
My grandmother shamed to silence.
facing the terrible scaffold of words.
behind a door that slowly closes.
I am trying to remember
about those days.
All I see is a kitchen.
All I see is my grandmother
radiating secret, unknown meanings.
Anna Akhmatova sings in her old woman’s voice
about what she has seen.
My grandmother carried off
on a storm of lost struggles
into these words
that I never learned to listen;
I let myself be torn away by the winds
and together we watched as all the roads were destroyed.
I am coming
for now I hear your fighting call.
* I didn’t know you when you were in your full glory,
I only saw your fiery ascent
– Anna Akhmatova 1940, transl. Jenny Wade