Everyman’s Library has released a new expanded edition of Anna Akhmatova’s poems translated by DM Thomas. I think Thomas’s translations of her work are better than anyone else’s (including Kunitz’s). Here’s a poem I especially love right now, as I receive the new year and grieve my tendency towards epehemeral romantic connections:
High in the sky a small cloud greyed,
Like a stretched squirel pelt.
He said to me, “Too bad frail snow maid,
That in March your body will melt.”
My hands grew cold in my downy muff.
Confused, I could not grasp it all.
How to win you back, swift weeks of
His love, so airy and ephemeral!
I’m not bitter, don’t seek to make him grieve,
in the last white storm let me meet my end.
I saw him in the cards on Christmas Eve.
In January I was his friend.
Spring 1911, Tsarskoye Selo