Июль 1914 (JULY 1914)

Пахнет гарью. Четыре недели
Торф сухой по болотам горит.
Даже птицы сегодня не пели,
И осина уже не дрожит.

Стало солнце немилостью Божьей,
Дождик с Пасхи полей не кропил.
Приходил одноногий прохожий
И один на дворе говорил:

«Сроки страшные близятся. Скоро
Станет тесно от свежих могил.
Ждите глада, и труса, и мора,
И затменья небесных светил.

Только нашей земли не разделит
На потеху себе супостат:
Богородица белый расстелет
Над скорбями великими плат».


Можжевельника запах сладкий
От горящих лесов летит.
Над ребятами стонут солдатки,
Вдовий плач по деревне звенит.

Не напрасно молебны служились,
О дожде тосковала земля!
Красной влагой тепло окропились
Затоптанные поля.

Низко, низко небо пустое,
И голос молящего тих:
«Ранят тело твое пресвятое,
Мечут жребий о ризах твоих».

JULY 1914

Smells like burning. For four weeks now
The dry ground on the swamplands bakes.
Today even birds did not sing songs
And the aspen-tree does not shake.

Sun has stopped in divine displeasure
Easter rain did not pelt fields hard.
A one-legged passerby came here
And alone said in the yard:

“Awful times near. For freshly dug graves
There will be not be enough place soon.
Expect pest, expect plague, expect coward,
And eclipses of Sun and Moon.

But the enemy won’t get to divide
Our lands for his fun:
Holy Mary will spread on her own
Over great sorrows a white gown.”


From the burning woods drifts
the sweet smell of juniper.
Widows grieve over their brood,
the village rings with lamentation.

If the land thirsted, it was not in vain,
nor were the prayers wasted;
for a warm red rain soaks
the trampled fields.

Low, low hangs the empty sky,
tender is the voice of the supplicant:
‘They wound Thy most holy body,
They are casting lots for Thy garments.’

Anna Achmatova

Anna Achmatova

Anna Achmatova (1889-1966) was raised in an upper class family in a town near St. Petersburg. At an early age, she became interested in poetry, though it was not fashionable at the time. When her father found out about her aspirations, he told her not to shame the family name by becoming a “decadent poetess”. Read more…

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