With one’s thoughts

Posted on 6th September 2023 by simonbeattie

Anna Akhmatova’s poem, written in 1912, and published two years later in her second collection, Chetki (‘Rosary’), was commended to me a few years ago by a friend who had read it in another – unrhymed – English translation. Curious, I sought out the Russian original which, as I thought, does rhyme, and so I set about producing a rhymed English version, partly as a challenge to myself, and partly as a gift for my friend. Then the pandemic arrived, and the world changed. I wanted to write a piece in response to being in lockdown, and Akhmatova’s words, which focus on being alone with one’s thoughts, seemed to fit.

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