Saturday, May 19, 2007

three things enchanted him

this is a short poem by the most famous russian female poet, anna akhmatova. kept alive purposefully by stalin, akhmatova survived the revolution and stalin's purges. her first husband, poet nikolai gumilev, was killed by the government and she was said to have had affairs with the poet osip mandelstam (also killed), and with the painter modigliani in paris (who did an infamous portrait of her.)

three things enchanted him:
white peacocks, evensong,
and faded maps of America.
he couldn't stand bawling brats,
or raspberry jam with his tea,
or womanish hysteria.
...and he was tied to me.


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Poems of Akhmatova translated by S. Kunitz and M. Hayward

1 comment:

kadosa said...

hi! nice post. i was glad to find it. the poem's really fine.
could you tell me, by whom (or where) is it said she had affairs with Osip Mandelstam? somewhere, maybe on wiki, i also read about this, like: "Anna Akhmatova had affairs with Osip Emilievich, but in her memoire Nadezda Mandelstam forgave her", though i read Nadezda's memoire (in english it's Hope On Hope, another edition: Hope Against Hope), and not a word about this. this way i'd say the info isn't right, but more i'd like to know.
thanks for the post, i like it, again. :) greetings from kadosa