By Anna Akhmatova
Translated by Jane Kenyon
Everything promised him to me:
the fading amber edge of the sky,
and the sweet dreams of Christmas,
and the wind at Easter, loud with bells,
and the red shoots of the grapevine,
and waterfalls in the park,
and two large dragonflies
on the rusty iron fencepost.
And I could only believe
that he would be mine
as I walked along the high slopes,
the path of burning stones.
Like a white stone in a deep well
one memory lies inside me.
I cannot and will not fight against it:
it is joy and it is pain.
It seems to me that anyone who looks into my eyes will notice it immediately,
becoming sadder and more pensive
than someone listening to a melancholy tale.
I remember how the gods turned people
into things, not killing their consciousness.
And now, to keep those glorious sorrows alive,
you have turned into my memory of you.