Anna Akhmatova

I Wrung My Hands

Anna Akhmatova was born in 1889 in Odessa on the Black Sea coast. In 1910 she married Nikolai Gumilev, who was also a poet. He was shot as an alleged counter-revolutionary in 1921. Very little of Akhmatova's poetry was published between 1923 and 1941. After Stalin's death her poetry began to be pub…






I wrung my hands under my dark veil. . .
"Why are you pale, what makes you reckless?"
-- Because I have made my loved one drunk
with an astringent sadness.

I'll never forget. He went out, reeling;
his mouth was twisted, desolate. . .
I ran downstairs, not touching the banisters,
and followed him as far as the gate.

And shouted, choking: "I meant it all
in fun. Don't leave me, or I'll die of pain."
He smiled at me -- oh so calmly, terribly --
and said: "Why don't you get out of the rain?"

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