Saturday, October 12, 2013

To Akhmatova's Shroud

Who knows, Anna, what you meant:
“A poet is someone from whom nothing must be taken
and to whom nothing must be given,”
taunted as “half-nun, half-harlot.”

Who knows what to do,
considering what happened to you
up there? They cut out “the secret of secrets” *
to qualify you for sainthood.

Take nothing from me if you give me nothing;
who’s a saint in what this world’s become?
Who knows what poetry down here is?
Half-priest, half-whore
* from Jane Kenyon's translation:
" . . . I can't tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
or if the secret of secrets is within me again."

(12 October 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

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