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I wrung my hands November 23, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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By Anna Akhmatova
Translated by Stanley Kunitz (with Max Hayward). Lest anyone take offense, try reading the poem reversing the genders. It works both ways.

I wrung my hands under my dark veil. . .
“Why are you pale, what makes you reckless?”
— Because I have made my loved one drunk
with an astringent sadness.

I’ll never forget. He went out, reeling;
his mouth was twisted, desolate. . .
I ran downstairs, not touching the banisters,
and followed him as far as the gate.

And shouted, choking: “I meant it all
in fun. Don’t leave me, or I’ll die of pain.”
He smiled at me — oh so calmly, terribly –
and said: “Why don’t you get out of the rain?”

Kiev, 1911

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