Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree. - Ezra Pound 1885-1972


The river licks the banks. Wide spreads it, wide and deep.
     Slowly it flows, and see -
Out in the steppe, over the yellow steep
     The stacks rise mournfully.

O Russia mine! My wife! Where leads our way we know,
     The pain of knowing fierce.
Our way, an arrow flying from a Tatar bow,
     Our breast has pierced.

Our way lies through the steppe, through sadness without bound,
    Your sadness, Russ, your tears.
The haze of night, the haze of the beyond
    I do not fear.

We'll get there and with flame will set aglow
     The steppe, by night concealed.
Our sacred banner and of khans the steel
     Will through the thick smoke show.

We only dream of calm. The battle's never done.
     Through dust and blood,
Eternally the steppeland mare flies on,
     Trampling the sod.

The miles and hills flash past. Stop! Stop! But no.
     No end in sight.
A gory sunset. Clouds, row upon row,
     Grey-faced with fright.

The sunset and the heart astream with blood.
    No calm, not anywhere.
Weep, heart! Weep loud! Past field, past wood
    Gallops the steppeland mare.

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]
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Akhmatova A.A.
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