25 July 2012

Serge Prokofieff - Anna Akhmatova


 OP. 27

Translation into English by Hilary Reynolds and Hans van den Bos.
(With many thanks to Sweta Gankin for her help with the Russian language)

The sun has filled my room.

The sun has filled my room
With transparent yellow dust.
I woke and remembered, my love,
That it is your birthday today.
That’s why the snow has decked the landscape,
But behind the windows it is warm.
That’s why, though I always lie awake,
Tonight, I slept without guilt.

Real tenderness.

Real tenderness is silent, and can
Be exchanged with nothing else.
In vain you caringly wrap
My bosom and shoulders in fur.
Vain are your slavish words,
That I am your first love.
Too well I know you’re persistent
And insatiable gazes.

The remembrance of the sun.

In my heart the remembrance of the sun fades,
Like the yellow grass today.
The former snow flurry scarcely blows now,
The willow stands against the clear heaven,
Like a translucent fan.
Maybe it’s better, that I didn’t become your wife.
In my hart the remembrance of the sun fades.
What’s this? Darkness? Maybe...!
Tonight the winter arrived just in time.


Do you hear the soft rustling
Right of the table?
These lines you shall not write:
Because I have returned!
Will you really hurt me again,
Like the last time?
You say, that you can’t bear to see
My hands, my hands and my eyes.
But around you all is warm and cheerful.
Don’t drive me away to the cold, dirty water,
There under the oppressive arch of the bridge.

The gray-eyed King.

Hail to you, incurable grief!
Yesterday the gray-eyed king died.
The autumnal evening was scarlet and warm.
My husband, when he came back, said calmly:
“Listen, the huntsmen brought him back home,
They found his body under an old oak.
It ‘s a shame for so young a queen!
Her hair has turned gray in just one night.”
He took his pipe from the mantelpiece
And went back to his nightly work.
O, daughter of mine, I will wake you now.
Let me look into your gray eyes.
Outside the window the poplars whisper:
“On this earth your king is no more.”