Anna Akhmatova was a Russian modernist poet (11th June 1889 Odessa – 1966 Moscow). She was part of the Acmeist group of poets in Russia from about 1910, ‘their ideals were compactness of form and clarity of expression‘ (wikipedia). Other Acmeist poets were Nikolay Gumilev (Anna’s husband for a while), Sergei Gorodetsky, Osip Mandelstam, Mikhail Kuzmin, and Georgiy Ivanov.
Thanks to my recent reading of Otherland | Maria Tumarkin, I discovered Anna and several other Russian poets that were favourites of Tumarkin when she was growing up in the Soviet Union. I’m all for brevity and precision in poetry, so I was keen to check out some of their work.
Unfortunately, I could not find any details on when Sunbeam was written or first published, or who the translator was. It may have been a poem in her first published collection, Vecher/Вечер (Evening) 1912.
I pray to the sunbeam from the window;
It is pale, thin, straight.
Since morning I have been silent,
And my heart; is split.
The copper on my washstand
Has turned green,
But the sunbeam plays on it
How innocent it is, and simple,
In the evening calm,
But to me in this deserted temple
It's like a golden celebration,
And a consolation.
- This post is part of A Poem For a Thursday with Jennifer @Holds Upon Happiness.
- This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are this land’s first storytellers.