The Secret of Secrets

Ahkmatova

Anna Akmatova by Nathan Altman

On The Road

by Anna Akmatova (1889 – 1966)
Translated by Jane Kenyon

Though this land is not my own
I will never forget it,
or the waters of its ocean,
fresh and delicately icy.

Sand on the bottom is whiter
. .than chalk,
and the air is drunk, like wine.
Late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pine trees.

And the sun goes down in waves
. .of ether
in such a way that I can’t tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
or if the secrets of secrets is within
me again.


Portrait of a Figure Near Water

by Jane Kenyon

Rebuked, she turned and ran
uphill to the barn. Anger, the inner
arsonist, held a match to her brain.
She observed her life: against her will
it survived the unwavering flame.

The barn was empty of animals.
Only a swallow tilted
near the beams, and bats
hung from the rafters
the roof sagged between.

Her breath became steady
where, years past, the farmer cooled
the big tin amphoræ of milk.
The stone trough was still
filled with water: she watched it
and received its calm.

So it is when we retreat in anger:
we think we burn alone
and there is no balm.
Then water enters, though it makes
no sound.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations.

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