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‘Prologue’ and ‘Inscription on a Book’ by Anna Akhmatova

‘Prologue’ by Anna Akhmatova



That was when the ones who smiled
Were the dead, glad to be at rest.
And like a useless appendage, Leningrad
Swung from its prisons.
And when, senseless from torment,
Regiments of convicts marched,
And the short songs of farewell
Were sung by locomotive whistles.
The stars of death stood above us
And innocent Ruissia writhed
Under bloody boots
And under the tires of the Black Marias.


-From the collection Requiem (published in 1963 in Munich)

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‘Inscription on a Book’ by Anna Akhmatova


From beneath such ruins I speak,
From beneath such an avalanche I cry,
As if under the vault of a fetid celler
I were burning in quicklime.
I will pretend to ne soundless this winter
And I will slam the eternal doors forever,
And even so, they will recognize my voice,
And even so they will believe in it once more.

-Written by Anna Akhmatova in Leningrad in 1959.

Also read,
'In Memoriam, July 19, 1914' by Anna Akhmatova

‘And when we had cursed each other’ by Anna Akhmatova

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